UHIVERSITY OF CALIFORMM
APR 1 9 1965
State of California
THE RESOURCES AGENCY
epart merit of Water Resources
BULLETIN No. 159-65
FLOOD CONTROL PROGRAM
The Resources Agency
EDMUND G. BROWN
State of California
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNW
WILLIAM E. WARNE
Department of Water Resources
Discharge below partially completed Orovllle Dam December 23, 1964
State of California
THE RESOURCES AGENCY
Department of Wa ter Resources
BULLETIN No. 159-65
FLOOD CONTROL PROGRAM
HUGO FISHER EDMUND G. BROWN WILLIAM E. WARNE
Adminisfrator Governor D/recfor
The Resources Agency State of California Deportment of Water Resources
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL xiii
CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION 1
CHAPTER II. RECENT FLOODS IN CALIFORNIA 3
Floods of November and December, 1950 3
Floods of December, 1955 10
Floods of February and April, 1958 11
Floods of October, 1962 12
Floods of January-February, 1963 1^
Floods of December, 1964 l6
CHAPTER III. EXISTING AND PLANNED FLOOD CONTROL
North Coast 23
Russian River 23
Mendocino Coastal Streams 25
Eel River 26
Klamath River Basin 26
Sacramento Valley and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta . 29
Flood Control Projects in Sacramento Valley .... 29
Feather River 37
Yuba River 39
Bear River 40
American River 4l
Cosiunnes River 44
MokeliJinne River 45
Calaveras River 45
Putah Creek 46
Cache Creek 46
Lahonton Area 4?
San Joaquin Valley 50
Lower San Joaquin River and Tributaries Including
Tuoliimne and Stanislaus Rivers, California ... 51
Lower San Joaquin River Levees 51
Stanislaus River 52
Tuolumne River 53
Merced River 5^
Merced County Stream Group 55
Mustang Creek 56
Chowchllla River 57
Fresno River 57
The Lower San Joaquin River Flood Control Project. 58
San Joaquin River Upstream from the Merced River . 58
Big Dry Creek 59
Kings River 59
Kaweah River 60
Tule River 6I
Kern River 6I
Poso Stream Group 62
Central Coast and Bay Area 63
Santa Cruz Area 63
Pajaro River 64
Monterey County 65
Marin County 66
Sonoma County , 67
Napa County 67
Solano County 68
Contra Costa County 68
Alameda County 70
Santa Clara County 72
San Mateo County 73
Southern California 74
Central Coastal Area 74
Arroyo Grande Creek Watershed Project .... 74
Santa Maria River Levee Project 74
Santa Ynez River Watershed Project 75
South Coastal Area 76
Ventura River Basin Project 76
Santa Clara River Levee Project 77
Santa Clara River Levee Project (Santa Paula
Creek Channel) 77
Calleguas Creek Watershed Project 77
Lus Angeles River Watershed Project 78
Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers and
Ballona Creek Project 78
Renter Canyon Conduit and Channel 78
Santa Ana River Basin Project 79
City Creek Levee Project 80
Escondido Creek Watershed Project 80
Buena Vista Creek Watershed Project 80
San Diego and Mission Bay Project 80
San Diego County Flood Hazard Investigation .... 8l
Colorado Desert Area 82
Quail V/ash Levee Project 82
Lahontan Area 82
CHAPTER IV. FLOOD FIGHT RESPONSIBILITIES AND
California Department of Water Resources 85
U. S. Army, Corps of Engineers 86
U. S. Weather Bureau 87
The State Reclamation Board 88
California Disaster Office 89
California Division of Forestry 89
California National Guard 90
Non-Governmental Organizations Engaged in Public
U. S. Office of Emergency Planning 91
U. S. Armed Forces 92
California Highway Patrol 92
Local Law Enforcement Agencies 92
Local Agencies 93
U. S. Bureau of Reclamation 93
California Department of Employment 94
CHAPTER V. AID PROGRAMS 95
State Emergency Flood Relief Law 95
Emergency Powers of Director of Water Resources .... 95
Public Law 875 95
Federal Aid Highway Act 96
Public Law 99 97
Small Business Administration Loan 97
American National Red Cross 97
CHAPTER VI. FLOOD DAMAGE AND PROBLEMS 99
North Coastal Area 100
Smith and Klamath River Basins 101
Eel River Basin 103
Russian River Basin 105
Mendocino Coastal Streams 106
Sacramento Valley and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta . . . 107
Upper Sacramento Valley 107
Sacramento River Flood Control Project IO8
Sierra Streams 110
Sacramento River Seepage Problem 112
Sacramento- San Joaquin Delta II3
San Joaquin Valley II5
Central Coast'al and San Francisco Bay Area 115
Santa Cruz County Il6
Monterey County Il8
Marin Coiinty Il8
Sonoma County 119
Napa Countj 119
Solano County 120
Contra Costa County 120
Alameda County 122
Santa Clara County 123
San Mateo County 124
Southern California 124
Summary of Flood Damages 127
CHAPTER VII. THE CALIFORNIA FLOOD CONTROL
Needed Projects and Project Studies 130
Current Multiple-Purpose Project Studies Requiring
Special Attention 130
Projects Already Authorized 132
North Coast 132
Sacramento Valley and Sacramento- San Joaquin
Central Coastal and Bay Area 135
San Joaquin Valley 136
Southern California I38
Projects Investigated But Not Yet Authorized . . . 138
Sacramento Valley and Sacramento-San
Joaquin Delta 139
North Coast 139
Central Coast 140
Southern California 140
Comprehensive Basin-Wide Investigations l4l
Needed Actions and Other Studies l45
Utilization and Coordination of Flood Fighting
Resources . l45
Flood Forecast and Flood Warning Systems l46
Revised Operation Criteria for Folsom and Shasta
Protection of Existing Flood Control Facilities. . l49
Expanded Approach to Flood Control 150
Flood Plain Management 154
Flood Plain Information Studies I56
Watershed Management 157
CHAPTER VIII. RECOMMENDATIONS 159
SELECTED STORM PRECIPITATION
SELECTED FLOOD PLOWS AND STAGES
FLOODED AREAS AND FLOOD DAMAGE
5 and 6
MAJOR DRAINAGE AREAS IN CALIFORNIA Plate 1
HYDROGRAPH OF KLAMATH RIVER AT KLAMATH Plate 2
HYDROGRAPH OF EEL RIVER AT SCOTIA Plate 3
INFLOW - OUTFLOW HYDROGRAPHS - OROVILLE RESERVOIR. . Plate 4
HYDROGRAPH OF YUEA RIVER AT SMARTVILLE Plate 5
INFLOW - OUTFLOW HYDROGRAPHS - FOLSOM RESERVOIR. . . Plate 6
COMPARISON OF MAXIMUT4 FIVE-DAY PRECIPITATION
1955-1964 Plate 7
COMPARISON OF PEAK DISCHARGES 1955-1964 Plate 8
COMPARISON OF FLOOD VOLUMES 1955-1964 Plate 9
DISCHARGE BELOW PARTIALLY COMPLETED OROVILLE DAM
DECEMBER 23, 1964 (DVffi Photo) Frontispiece
RIO DELL, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 26, 1964 (Tele-
photo, courtesy U.P.I.) 7
AWAITING RESCUE. EEL RIVER NEAR FERNDALE, CALIFORNIA,
DECEMBER 23, 1964. (Telephoto, courtesy U.P.I.) 7
CRESCENT CITY, CALIFORNIA, DECEMBER 27, 1964. HARBOR
CLOGGED WITH TIMBER AND DEBRIS. LIGHTHOUSE AT LOWER
LEFT. (Telephoto, courtesy U.P.I.) 9
KLAMATH, CALIFORNIA, DECEMBER 25, 1964. BUSINESS
DISTRICT AT LEFT, RESIDENTIAL AREA AT RIGHT.
(Telephoto, courtesy U.P.I.) 9
ENGLEBRIGHT DAM, DECEMBER 25, 1964 (DWR Photo) 13
DAGUERRE POINT DAM ON DECEMBER 25, 1964 WITH FLOOD-
WATERS FLOWING AROUND RIGHT ABUTMENT (DWR Photo) ... 13
DECEMBER 25, 1964. SITE OF THE FEATHER RIVER LEVEE
FAILURE THAT OCCURRED ON DECEMBER 24, 1955.
(DWR Photo) 15
DECEMBER 27, 1964. LEVEE MAINTENANCE CREW FIGHTS HIGH
TIDES AND WINDS TO PROTECT TWITCHELL ISLAND (DWR Photo) 15
DECEMBER 23, 1964. SACRAMENTO WEIR AND BYPASS CHANNEL
DISCHARGE FLOODWATERS INTO YOLO BYPASS ABOVE SACRAMENTO
(DWR Photo) 17
SACRAMENTO RIA^ER AT FLOOD STAGE BELOW CONFLUENCE WITH
AMERICAN RIVER. DECEMBER 23, 1964. (DWR Photo) ... 17
FLOODING IN LOWER SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY FROM BREAKS ALONG
STANISLAUS RIVER LEVEES SOUTHWEST OF RIPON. (U. S.
Corps of Engineers Photo) 19
SHASTA DAM (DWR Photo) 43
FOLSOM DAM ON DECEMBER 25, 1964 (DWR Photo) 43
STATE OF CALIFORNIA-RESOURCES AGENCY WILLIAM E. WARNE, Director
DEPARTMENT OF WATER RESOURCES
P.O. BOX 388
January 29, 1965
Honorable Edmund G. Brown
Governor of California
Dear Governor Brown:
During the floods of the Christmas week of 1964,
you ordered a review of the events during that flood and
the preparation of a strengthened and accelerated flood
control program. This work has Just been completed and I
am pleased to submit herewith the full report.
The program set forth in this bulletin would
Increase our capability to prevent and to combat floods,
would coordinate and strengthen the flood control activities
of all participating agencies, and would provide a program
on which all agencies could work to provide much needed
additional flood protection.
This is planned to be the first in a series of
bulletins presenting an annual flood control program for
state of California
The Resotirces Agency
DEPARTMENT OF WATER RESOURCES
EDMUND G. BROWN, Governor, State of California
HUGO FISHER, Administrator, The Resoxirces Agency
WILLIAM E. WARNE, Director, Department of Water Resources
ALFRED R. GOLZE', Chief Engineer
This report was prepared by a special committee
Robin R. Reynolds, Chairman Division Engineer,
Division of Operations
James M. Carl Senior Attorney
Paul L. Clifton Associate Construction Analyst
Albert J. Dolcini Principal Engineer
Howard Drake Attorney
J. J. Elliott Assistant Civil Engineer
William L. Horn Principal Engineer
Sam Kabakov Supervising Engineer
John W. Keysor Principal Engineer
Delbert D. McNealy Supervising Engineer
Stuart T. Pyle Supervising Engineer
Norman Sturm Economic Adviser
CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION
In late December, 1964 the northwestern United States
was struck by a great storm from the Pacific Ocean. There was
widespread devastation. Unprecedented rainfall produced great
rain floods In the Pacific Coast rivers and deep snow packs
were laid down In the high mountains.
There was widespread flooding In the northern half of
California, and damage was particularly severe on the North
Coast. Most of the major rivers carried the peak flows of
record. Twenty-four lives were lost In California. The total
direct damage In California Is estimated at over $140,000,000,
although the full story of the damage Is still unfolding, since
one month after the flood communication with many areas In the
North Coast Is not yet reestablished.
The great lesson of this flood comes from the fact
that where dams and levees exist there was little or no flooding
but where the rivers are uncontrolled there was great damage
and destruction. The most Impressive performance was turned In
by the unfinished Orovllle Dam on the Feather River which
reduced the record peak flow of that stream by 100,000 cubic
feet per second, undoubtedly preventing much flood damage and
probably averting a disaster similar to that from the Christmas
flood of 1955. With some of the existing dams there was a very
close margin of safety. We came within a hair's breadth of
having an uncontrolled spillover from Polsom Reservoir Into
the American River which would have put Sacramento at the
mercy of torrential flows Into full channels.
The December 1964 flood has brought into sharp focus
the need to fully examine the State's flood control facilities
and program and flood fight resources.
California has developed an economy and has settled
its 18 millions of people in areas which^ for the most part^
are subject to natural flooding. Recognizing this situation,
the Legislature has declared repeatedly that the people of
California have a primary interest in the prevention of loss of
lives, property, and services that occur as the result of floods.
The Importance of the flood problem in California also is drama-
tized by the many flood control facilities and by the hundreds
of reclamation and flood control districts, state agencies, and
by several federal agencies, notably the Corps of Engineers,
that are engaged in flood mitigating programs. The recent and
past flood experiences indicate, however, that actions to date
fall short of need. Additional flood protection must be provided
as rapidly as possible.
This report reviews this great flood and other recent
floods, appraises the State's flood control and flood fight
resources, and, from the lessons learned, recommends a strength-
ened flood control program.
CHAPTER II. RECENT FLOODS IN CALIFORNIA
Since the days of pioneer settlement the people of
California have suffered great floods. The record begins with
a diary note of a great flood In the Los Angeles River In
1769-70. Floods In 1772, 1780, 1805, 1821, 1825, 1832, and 1849
were followed by the near- legendary flood of 186I-62. This was
followed by major floods In I867, 1879, I88I, I890, 1907, 1909,
1911, 1917, 1928, 193^, 1937, 1938, 1940, 1941, 1945, and 1950.
Since 1950 there have been eight major floods which
have caused great suffering, loss of human life, and extensive
damage to property and to the economy of California.
The recent floods of November-December 1950, December,
1955, February and April, I958, October, I962, January- February,
1963, and December, 1964, are described briefly in the following
paragraphs with regard to storm occurrence, flood flows, and
damages. Significant precipitation records are summarized in
Table 1; and flow and stages for representative stations are
listed in Table 2.
Floods of November and December, 1950
During two storm periods, November 12-20 and Decem-
ber 2-8, 1950, several series of weather fronts moved through
Central and Northern California, bringing moist, tropical air
to regions which had already received rainfall in excess of fifty
percent of the normal total seasonal amounts. The November, 1950
flood is particularly significant since it was the first time in
recorded history that major flooding had occurred so early in the
season. This record was to be broken, however, in October, I962.
SELECTED STORM PRECIPITATIOK
Nov. 13-21,: Dec. 1-10,
1950 : 1950
9-day total: 10-day total,
in inches : in inches
Crescent City (Del
Brush Creek (Butte)
Blue Cfiuiyon (Placer)
Shasta Dam (Shasta)
Grant Grove (Tulare)
Mar. 28 -Apr. 7,
Jan. 29-Feb. 4
8 -day total.
7 -day total.
Crescent City (Del
Brush Creek (Butte)
Blue Canyon (Placer)
Shasta Dam (Shasta)
Grauit Grove (Tulare)
* station not recording from February 1 to February 4.
• • ••
. . ••
O 1 II
II 1 o
O 1 II
II 1 o
Rio Dell, California - December 2o, 1964
( Telephoto, courtesy U.P.I.)
Awaiting rescue. Eel River near Ferndale, California
December 23, 1964 (Telephoto, courtesy U.P.I.)
The November storm brought heaviest amounts of rain-
fall to the Sierra from the Kaweah River north to the Feather
River, in amounts from l8 to 26 inches. During the December storm
the heaviest rainfall occurred between the Tuolumne River and
the Feather River in 8 to 12-inch amounts.
The storms during these two periods caused heavy
runoff from the Sierra watersheds, resulting in river flow of
record or near-record levels. The November storms caused the
Cosumnes River to crest at 27,200 cfs* at Michigan Bar, The
American River at Fair Oaks crested at l80,000 cf s . The Kings
River at Piedra crested at 110,000 cfs, and the Kern River flow
at Bakersfield was estimated to be nearly 47,000 cfs. Stream
flows were generally less during the December stonns .
Flood damage caused by the first flood runoff
occurred in the lowlands from the Kern River to the Yuba River
and near Clear Lake in Lake County. Olivehurst, suburban
Sacramento, Fremont, Visalia, and Kernville, are among the many
communities damaged by flood water from the November storms.
During December 2-4, flooding was generally along the
Stanislaus, Tuolumne, and American Rivers, and near Clear Lake.
Flooding during December 5-9 occurred along the American River,
the lower San Joaquin River, and in the upper San Joaquin Delta.
*cfs - cubic feet per second
Crescent City, California, December 27, 1964
Harbor clogged with timber and debris. Lighthouse at
lower left. (Telephoto, courtesy U.P.I.)
Klamath, California, December 25, 1964
Business district at left, residential area at right,
(Telephoto, courtesy U.P.I.)
Floods of December, 1955
The' floods of December, 1955^ which have been compared
to the floods of I86I-62 because of the large volumes of water,
were caused by a deep flow of warm, moist, tropical air from the
central Pacific Ocean. The storms of December 17-26, consisted
of alternating periods of heavy precipitation followed by inter-
vening shorter periods of light precipitation. The area of
heaviest rainfall was north of a line drawn from Santa Barbara
to Bishop. Precipitation amounts for the storm period exceeded
30 inches in wide areas and a few stations recorded amounts
greater than 40 inches . Although rainfall occurred as high as
the 6,000-foot level, the snowmelt contribution to runoff was
believed to be insignificant.
Peak flood runoff resulting from these storms exceeded
maximum flow of record for most streams in the coastal areas
north of Santa Barbara, in the Central Valley north of the Tule
River Basin, in the Lahonton area north of the Walker River
Basin and in the North Coast. Record flows of 148,000 cfs
occurred on the Yuba River, 218,000 cfs on the American River at
Folsom Reservoir, 541,000 cfs on the lower Eel River, 425,000 cfs
on the lower Klamath River and 90,000 cfs on the lower Russian
Most of the damage from this flood occurred along
streams which were unregulated by reservoirs. Flood damage was
extensive along the Klamath, Mad, Eel, Russian, San Lorenzo,
Feather, Yuba, Calaveras, and Kaweah Rivers. Levee failures
occurred along the Feather River and the design capacity of
leveed channels was exceeded on the Feather, Yuba, and Bear
Rivers. Nearly one million acres were inundated including
highly developed areas in and near Yuba City, Stockton, Fresno,
Visalia, Santa Cruz, Watsonville, Eureka, Klamath, Santa Rosa,
Guernevllle, and some tracts in the Sacramento-San Joaquin
Delta. Sixty-four lives were lost.
Floods of February and April, 1938
The 1958 storms were significant because of their pro-
longed duration. From the first rains beginning in late
January and extending almost continuously through early April
the flood control works were subjected to high river stages.
The stability of many levees was threatened by excessive
The February floods were preceded by a series of
storms which primed most of the watersheds in the central and
northern parts of the State, On February 18, the first of two
flood-producing storms struck the North Coast, This warm air
dropped heavy amounts of rain in this area but only moderate
amounts in the Sierra Nevada, The next and more destructive
storm struck the Central California coast near San Francisco on
February 24. This storm brought heavy rain to all of Northern
California with rainfall up to 8,000 feet in the Sierra Nevada.
Only light showers occurred during the remainder of
February and early March, but a storm on March I6 brought
locally heavy rain to the Central Valley. During the period
March 27 to April 5:, a series of storms brought heavy precipi-
tation to the already saturated watersheds of Northern and
The February storms caused record peak stages on
streams along the west side of the Sacramento Valley, with the
eastslde streams well below record levels. Some high stages
were experienced in the North Coastal area and only minor rises
occurred in the remainder of Northern and Central California.
The March-April storms produced record peak flows In
the Central Coastal area and on some stresuns in the Central
Valley. Inflow to several Sierra reservoirs was estimated to be
at record flows, and the regulated releases supplemented by
local runoff produced record stages at some valley stations.
Flood damage resulting from the two storm periods
occurred in February In the North Coastal area, in the northern
Sacramento Valley, and near Clear Lake; and throughout most of
Northern California in April. The later floods inundated areas
in or near Hamilton City, Stockton, Walnut Creek, Brentwood,
Mendota, Patterson, Mill Valley, Napa, and the Sacramento-San
Joaquin Delta. Several locally-owned levees failed or were
overtopped in the Central Valley and in scattered coastal areas.
Floods of October, 1962
The flood of October, I962, was particularly signifi-
cant because it broke all records for arriving early in the
December 25, 1964
Daguerre Point Dam on December 25, 1964
With floodwaters flowing around right abutment
season. Since most flood control criteria for reservoir opera-
tion are based on a flood season starting on November 1^ this
storm could have caused uncontrolled reservoir spills^ except
for the fact that all of the watersheds were dry and absorbed
most of the rainfall.
The storm of October 7-l^j brought high-intensity
rainfall generally confined to a 100-mile wide band extending
diagonally across California from San Francisco to the Yuba
River Basin. Heavy amounts of rain occurred at lower elevations
as well as in the central Sierra Nevada.
Few stations on major streams experienced record-
breaking flows, but at many points the flows were the highest
since the floods of 1955. Local flooding and landslides
occurred in the North Coastal area and in the San Francisco
Bay area. Crops were inundated in the Sacramento Valley with
local flooding occurring near Sacramento. There was substantial
property damage j and the loss of 20 lives was attributed to the
Floods of January-February, 19^3
A foggy and relatively dry period occurred between
the October storms in 1962 and the flood-producing rains of
January 29 to February 1, 1963 . These later storm systems
brought warm, moist air to the snow-free, frozen mountainous
areas of Northern and Central California. Heaviest rainfall
December 25, 1964
Site of the Feather River levee failure
that occurred on December 24, 1955.
December 27, 1964
Levee maintenance crew fights high tides and winds
to protect Twitchell Island.
occurred In the Clear Lake area. In the Santa Cruz and Santa
Lucia Mountains, and in the Sierra Nevada from the Feather River
to the Kings River.
New maximum inflows of 150,000 cfs and 240,000 cfs at
Englebrlght and Polsom Reservoirs, respectively, were recorded
during the January-February storms. Record flows also were
experienced on several tributaries of the Feather, Yuba, and
Bear Rivers, and in the Lahonton area.
The January -February storms caused flooding in
Geyserville, Healdsburg, Napa, Gilroy, Alvlso, Soquel, Portola,
Qulncy, Chester, Slerraville, and Bridgeport. Many major high-
ways, municipal waterworks, levees., and small dams were damaged
by the f loodwaters . Property damage caused by the I962-63
floods was less than that which resulted from the 1955 or 1958
F lood s of December, 1964
The pattern of the December, 1964 storms was strikingly
similar to that of December, 1955 , Warm, moist air brought
heavy rain to all of Northern California north of a line from
San Francisco to Stockton. Rainfall amounts for the period
December 19-27 in the North Coastal area ranged from 10 inches
to 30 inches and in the northern Sierra Nevada from 20 inches
to 40 inches.
Record-breaking flood crests occurred on many streams
in the rainfall area. The crest on the Russian River near
December 23, 1964
Sacramento Weir and Bypass channel discharge floodwaters
Into Yolo Bypass above Sacramento.
Sacramento River at flood stage below confluence with
American River, December 23, 1964.
Guernevllle equalled the previous maximum^ as did the crest on
Redwood Creek at Orlck. The Klamath and Eel Rivers far exceeded
their previous maximuin flows. On the east side of the Sacramento
Valley^ new maxima were recorded at Oroville on the Feather
River (inflow to the reservoir behind Oroville Dsun which is
presently under construction) ^ at Englebright Reservoir on the
Yuba River J and at Folsom Reservoir on the American River.
Damage due to these storms occurred mostly in the
North Coastal area where high water, heavy rain, high wind, and
landslides created one disaster after another. Villages were
wiped out; bridges, roads, and communication lines were de-
molished, and thousands of people were made homeless. In the
Central Valley a few bridges were washed out, and Hell Hole
Dam under construction on the upper American River collapsed.
-****. wfttf ,,, ,.,
Flooding In lower San Joaquin Valley from breaks
along Stanislaus River levees southwest of Ripon.
Plate 2 shows the synthesized hydrograph of the
Klamath River at Klamath for December 20-26, 1964. The peak
flow of 650,000 cfs occurred early December 23. The previous
maximum of 425^,000 cfs occurred in 1955.
Plate 3 shows the hydrograph of the Eel River at
Scotia for December 20-26, 1964. The gage became inoperative
at 11 p.m. on December 22, therefore the remainder of the
hydrograph is synthesized. The peak flow was 750,000 cfs
occurring early December 23^ surpassing the previous record
flow of 541,000 cfs occurring in 1955.
Plate 4 depicts the operation of partially completed
Oroville Dam. The outflow occurred through the two diversion
tunnels which discharged 157,000 cfs into the Feather River
below the dam. This compares with the record inflow of
250,000 cfs, surpassing the March 19, 1907 record flow at
Oroville of 230,000 cfs and the December, 1955 flow of
203,000 cfs. Peak inflow occurred in the early afternoon of
December 22 and peak outflow occurred at noon on December 23,
Plate 5 shows the hydrograph of the Yuba River at
Smartville. This includes the summation of "At Englebright
Dam" and "Deer Creek near Smartville". The 171,800 cfs peak
flow occurring late December 22, 1964, exceeded the previous
record of 155,000 cfs established on Febr*uary 1, 1963.
Plate 6 depicts Inflow-outflow hydrographs of Polsom
Reservoir for the period December 21-27, 1964. The record
inflow of 280,000 cfs occurring late afternoon of December 23,
surpassed the record established on February 1, 1963, of
240,200 cfs. Failure of partly constructed Hell Hole Dam on
the Rubicon River contributed to the peak. Releases were in-
creased to a maximum of 115,000 cfs at 11 a.m., December 23,
and continued until noon on December 25, when over the next
24 hours, releases were reduced to 50,000 cfs.
Plate 7 Is a comparison of 1964 maximum five-day
precipitation with that of 1955. The amounts for Blue Canyon,
Brush Creek, and Caraptonville are not significantly different
for the two years, but the amounts for Alderpoint and Klamath
Glen exemplify the severity of the 1964 storm.
Plate 8 is a comparison of 1964 peak discharges with
those of 1955. This bar graph tells much the same story as
does Plate 7 with the Klamath River and Eel River surpassing
the 1955 records by approximately 50 percent and the Feather,
Yuba, and American Rivers experiencing record flows of from
about 15 percent to 35 percent greater than 1955.
Plate 9 compares 1964 flood volumes with 1955. The
period of December 20-26 was selected for both years on the
North Coast and December 21-27 for both years for the Central
CHAPTER III. EXISTING AND PLANNED FLOOD CONTROL WORKS
This chapter gives an account of existing and planned
flood control works located throughout the length and breadth of
the State. These are reported by hydrographic regions. It Is
to be noted. In comparing the current Inventory of works with
those recommended for construction In the Department's January,
1956 report on "Floods of December, 1955 in California", that a
number of works have been built during the intervening nine-
year period. However, this is no cause for complacency for dur-
ing this same period millions of people have been added to the
State's population and most of them live in areas subject to
Most streams of the North Coast have no flood control
works. This also is the area where the greatest damage has
been suffered from the floods of recent years.
The Russian River Basin drains approximately 1,500
square miles of Mendocino and Sonoma Counties and empties into
the Pacific Ocean about 60 miles northwest of San Francisco.
It is the southernmost major coastal river basin of Northern
California. The plan of improvement contained in House
Document 585, to alleviate damage due to major flooding which
occurs on the average of every two years, provides for construc-
tion of two reservoirs and channel stabilization works in three
Phase 1 consists of the construction of Coyote Valley
Dam and Reservoir (Lake Mendocino) on the East Fork of Russian
River for flood control and water conservation purposes and was
completed In April, 1959. The total capacity of this reservoir
is 122,500 acre-feet, 48,000 of which are for flood control.
Phase 2 will be construction of the Warm Springs Dam
on Dry Creek, near Cloverdale. It was authorized by the Flood
Control Act of 1962 and will provide flood protection for 20,500
acres of agricultural and recreation lands and supply 90,000
acre-feet of v;ater to Sonoma and Marin Counties. The reservoir
will have a capacity of 277,000 acre-feet of which 125,000 will
be for flood control. Federal funds for preconstruction planning
were provided in January, 1964 and studies are in progress for
preparation of the detailed design memoranda.
Phase 3 provides for the enlargement of the storage
capacity of the Coyote Valley Dam and Reservoir for water
In addition, this three-phase program Includes channel
stabilization and Improvement works, some of which have been com-
pleted along the Russian River from Cloverdale to Healdsburg.
During the last ten years, local Interests have spent
an estimated one million dollars for additional construction of
dikes, levees, training walls, groins, and bulkheads along the
Russian River and Dry Creek.
The Central Sonoma Watershed Project, covering about
50,000 acres which drain into the Laguna de Santa Rosa and the
Russian River, Is now under construction. Floodwater detention
dams on Brush, Finer, Spring, and Matanzas Creeks have been com-
pleted and are in operation. The Santa Rosa Creek Reservoir
complex. Including three earthflll dams and two diversion struc-
tures with associated channels, is complete. Also completed are
0.5 mile of concrete box culvert and 1.6 miles of earth channel
improvements on Brush and Finer Creeks. Construction is now in
progress on about eight miles of earth and riprap-lined channel
Improvement on Santa Rosa Creek and its tributaries. This
channel work Is expected to continue for another two or three
The Sonoma County Flood Control and Water Conservation
District has had a continuing program of improving upstream
tributary channels to Santa Rosa Creek independently of federal
or state aid.
Mendocino Coastal Streams
Between the mouth of the Eel River on the north and
the mouth of the Russian River on the south there are a large
nvimber of relatively minor streams which drain in a westerly
direction into the Facific Ocean. Included in this group are
Mattole, Ten Mile, Noyo, Big, Navarro, Garcia, and Gualala
At the present time there is neither flood control
works nor water conservation reservoirs on any of the coastal
streams of Mendocino County. Generally the streams are all
characterized by deep narrow gorges with a limited amount of
bottom land. These deep gorges have a confining influence on
the streams and thereby protect the adjacent communities usually
located on the broad terraces along the coast.
The Sandy Prairie Project is a levee system in
Humboldt County on the right bank of the lower Eel River at
the mouth of the Van Duzen River. The levee extends from a
point just upstream from the Highway 101 crossing, downstream
to the vicinity of Portuna and includes local private levees
in the Eel River Delta. The project's piorpose is to channel
flood waters of the Van Duzen River into the Eel River without
flooding lands in the vicinity of Fortiina. This project, con-
structed in 1959 by U. S. Corps of Engineers, is designed
to pass a peak flow of 5^0,000 cfs in the Eel River.
The Blue Lake Levee is located in Humboldt County on
the lower Mad River and extends from approximately two miles
east of the town of Blue Lake to a point approximately one-
quarter mile below the county road bridge. This levee, con-
structed in 1963 by U. S. Corps of Engineers is placed so as
to permit the passage of a peak flow of 105,000 cfs.
Klamath River Basin
There are no significant flood control projects in
the Klamath River Basin. However the accumulation of flood
peaks is retarded to some extent by the storage capacity of
irrigation and hydroelectric power reservoirs on the Upper
Klamath River. These include Upper Klamath Lake, Copco Lake
and Iron Gate Reservoir.
Clear Lake Reservoir in Modoc County, constructed
in 1910 by the U. S. Bureau of Reclamation on the headwaters
of Lost River, a tributary of the Klamath River, has a capacity
of 526,800 acre-feet. Control of flood water was an important
part of the reclamation plan. Excess flood flows of Lost River
are diverted into Klamath River by a flat-graded diversion
channel. High stages in the Klamath River caused by the Keno
Reef reduce the capacity of this channel. In addition, the levee
system downs trean has been designed to control damaging floods.
The Tule Lake sump has been designed so that excess flood waters
can be spilled into \ininhabited but farmed sump areas, if the
volume of flood waters exceeds the main sump capacity. Flood
and drainage waters that enter Tule Lake sump must be pumped
into Klamath River.
Trinity Reservoir, completed in 1962 by the United
States Bureau of Reclamation provides some incidental flood
control storage for flows of the Upper Trinity River.
The East Weaver Creek levee system at Weaverville
in Trinity County, constructed in 1963 by U. S. Corps of
Engineers, provides for the safe passage of a peak flow of
In Scott Valley near Port Jones a project to control
flood flows of Hidden Creek by levees was undertaken by local
agencies. This project proved Inadequate during the 1964
Except for the projects on the Russian River and the
Trinity and Clear Lake Reservoirs none of the foregoing faclll-
ties within the North Coastal area should be considered to be
parts of a final and fully developed flood control plan. They
are stop-gap facilities offering protection only against
Sacramento Valley and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
Within the Sacramento River Basin there are a number
of water control facilities that provide planned or incidental
flood control and protection.
Flood Control Projects in Sacramento Valley
The Sacramento River Flood Control Project consists of
a comprehensive system of levees^ overflow weirs, drainage
pumping plants, and flood bypass channels extending along the
Sacramento River from Collinsvllle upstream to Ord Bend and
along its principal tributaries to high ground near the base
of the Sierra Nevada and the Coast Range foothills.
The project is a joint federal, state and local under-
taking which was first approved for limited expenditure of
federal funds in I918. Federal legislation enacted in I928.
1937, 19^1, 19^^ 1950, 1958. and I96O modified the physical
works of the projector Increased the extent of federal parti-
cipation. The project was first adopted by the State of
California in I9II and subsequent acts of the State Legislature
generally paralleled the federal legislation.
Within the Sacramento Valley and Delta areas there are
approximately 1,0^0 miles of river levees which are a part of the
Sacramento River Flood Control Project and on which the State
makes semiannual inspections. These levees Include those
enumberated in Section 836I of the Water Code together with other
project flood control works which are the responsibility of
public agencies other than the State of California. Units
maintained and operated by the State of California include:
1. The east levee of the Sutter Bypass north of
2. The levees and channels of the Wadsworth Canal,
Willow Slough Channel downstream from the Southern
Pacific Railroad from Davis to "Woodland except
that portion of the north levee thereof lying
within Reclamation District No. 2035-
3. Putah Creek downstream from Winters, the intercepting
canals draining into them^, and all structures
^. The collecting canals, sumps, pumps and structures
of the drainage system of Project No, 6 east of
the Sutter Bypass.
5. The bypass channels of the Butte Slough Bypass,
the Sutter Bypass, the Tisdale Bypass, the Yolo
Bypass and the Sacramento Bypass with all cuts,
canals, bridges, dams, and other structures and
improvements contained therein and in the borrow
6. The levees of the Sacramento Bypass.
7. The channels and overflow channels of the
Sacramento River and its tributaries within the
Sacramento and San Joaquin Drainage District.
8. The Knights Landing ridge cut flowage area.
9. The flood relief channels controlled by the
Moulton and Colusa Weirs and the training levees
10. The levee on the left bank of the Sacramento
River adjoining Butte Basin, from the Butte Slough
outfall gates upstream to a point four miles
northerly from the Moulton Weir, after completion.
11. All weirs and relief structures.
12. The west levee of the Yolo Bypass, extending from
the west end of the Fremont Weir southerly to the
Cache Creek Settling Basin and from Willow Slough
Channel to Putah Creek and the levee of the Yolo
Bypass from Fremont Weir southerly two miles.
13. The levee on the west bank of Feather River extend-
ing a distance of about two miles southerly from
the Sutter- Butte Canal headgate.
1^. The levees of Cache Creek and the easterly
and westerly levees of Cache Creek Settling
15. The flowage area of Western Pacific Intercept-
ing Canal extending northerly for a distance of
five miles from Bear River.
16. The levees of Tisdale Bypass from Tisdale Weir
^.5 miles easterly to Sutter Bypass.
The following levee systems are within the Sacramento
River Flood Control Project but are the responsibility of
local areas to operate or maintain or are the responsibility
of the State through the establishment of maintenance areas:
(1) American River, (2) Arcade Creek, (3) Bear River,
(^) Butte Slough Bypass, (5) portions of the Cache Creek
Settling Basin, (6) Cache Slough, (?) portion of Colusa Basin
Drain, (8) Coon Creek Group Interceptor, (9) Deer Creek,
(10) Elder Creek, (11 ) Elk Slough, (12) portions of the
Feather River System, (13) Georgi&na Slough, (l^) Haas Slough,
(15) Honcut Creek, (16) Knights Landing Ridge Cut, (l?) Linda
Creek, (18) Lindsay Slough, (19) Miner Slough, (20) Natomas
Cross Canal, (21) Natomas East Canal, (22) North Dry Creek,
(23) portions of the Sacramento River System, (2^) Simmerly
Slough, (25) South Dry Creek, (26) Steamboat Slough,
(27) portions of Sutter Bypass, (28) Sutter Slough, (29) Three-
mile Slough, (30) Ulatis Creek Bypass, (31) Western Pacific
Interceptor, (32) portions of Willow Slough Bypass,
(33) Yankee Slough, (3^) portions of Yolo Bypass, (35) portions
of Yuba River System.
The Sacramento River and Major and Minor Tributaries
Project of the U. S. Corps of Engineers also is a unit of the
comprehensive plan for flood control and other purposes in
the Sacramento River Basin. This project provides for levee
construction and/or channel enlargement on the following
minor tributaries of the Sacramento River: Chico and Mud
Creeks and Sandy Gulch, Butte and Little Chico Creeks,
Cherokee Canal, Elder Creek, and Deer Creek together with
levee revetments for Sutter, Tisdale, Sacramento and Yolo
Bypasses. Approximately 72 miles of channel improvements
and about 107 miles of levees and bypass revetments as
required for protection of bypass levee slopes against
erosion also are involved in the project. This project is
a modification and extension of the Sacramento River Flood
Control Project and supplements reservoir units of the
comprehensive plan by providing flood protection to certain
unprotected or partially protected areas along Sacramento
River. When completed the minor tributaries unit will
provide protection from floods to about 8,000 acres of
agricultural land and to the City of Chico and other
communities. The bypass levee revetment work will provide
protection to flood plain lands adjacent to the bypasses
and will decrease requirements for levee repairs under
emergency conditions. Construction of the project was
initiated in 19^9 and suspended in October, 1950 following
completion of improvements along Deer, Butte, and Little
Chico Creeks. Construction was resumed in 1957. The Chico
and Mud Creeks and Sandy Gulch Unit were completed in 1964,
The active portion of the project is about 59 percent complete,
with completion currently scheduled for December, 1970. Work
remaining Includes completion of the bypass levee revetments.
Flood control regulations of the Sacramento Valley
Flood Control Project provides that the Federal Government
will construct or finance the flood control features. The
State provides land easements, rights-of-way and relocation
of utilities, roads, and bridges and the State or local
agencies assizme responsibility for maintenance and operation.
The Chico Landing to Red Bluff Project of the
U. S. Corps of Engineers to construct bank protection and
minor channel improvements along Sacramento River between Chico
Landing and Red Bluff was initiated in 19^3 and completed
in Tehama County in 196^. Authorized work in Butte and
Glenn Counties has not been started because of failure of
counties to provide suitable flood plain zoning.
In November, 1958, the U. S. Corps of Engineers
completed construction of a levee along the right bank of
the American River from Elvas Bridge to Carmichael Bluffs
and pumping facilities for disposal of interior drainage.
The Sacramento River Bank Protection Project
presently under construction by the U. S. Corps of Engineers
Is a long-range modification of the existing Sacramento
River Flood Control Project to include construction of
bank erosion control works and setback levees within
the limits of the existing levee system. The initial
10-year phase consisting of approximately ^30,000 lineal-
feet of bank protection work at critical locations was
initiated in June,1963 and is 7 percent complete. Completion
of the initial phase is presently scheduled for December, 1972.
Under study by the U. S. Corps of Engineers are
channel improvements on Jack and Slmmerly Sloughs. The
Corps also has proposed channel Improvements and levees on
Thomes and Antelope Creeks, on Wilson, Walker, and Willow
Creek and levees and a bypass system for Butte Basin but
these proposals are presently inactive because of lack of
Flood control works on the east side of the
lower Sacramento Valley below the American River Include
levee systems along the lower reaches of Dry Creek,
Cosummes, Mokelumne, and Calaveras Rivers and minor
tributaries and Stockton Diverting Canal east of Stockton.
Farmington Reservoir constructed by the U. S.
Coi^is of Engineers on Littlejohns Creek in the foothills
east of Stockton provides substantial flood protection to
the area along Llttlejohns Creek and Duck Creek. The
reservoir has a capacity of 52,000 acre-feet, all for
flood control. The project Includes diversion of Duck
Creek to Llttlejohns Creek and channel improvement and
clearing of Llttlejohns Creek.
The Jackson Creek project of the Jackson Valley
Irrigation District now under construction includes a
22,000 acre-foot reservoir which will provide no planned
flood control, but will furnish some incidental protection.
Projects under construction or planned also
Include works on Duck Creek, Bear Creek, and Mormon Slough.
Duck Creek Project now under construction by the U. S. Corps of
Engineers intermittent channel enlargement in the lower
reaches of Duck Creek east of Stockton to provide channel
capadty for a 50-year flood. Completion is scheduled for
this year. Flood control works are substantially complete.
Bear Creek in San Joaquin County to carry a flood of
■4,000 cubic feet per second and provide protection to about
30,000 acres of orchard, vineyards and row cropland and
suburban areas near Stockton. This project of the U. S.
Corps of Engineers comprises 38 miles of low levees and
22 miles of channel
The Mormon Slough Project of the U. S. Corps of
Engineers to increase the capacities of Mormon Slough
and Calaveras River downstream from Bellota in San Joaquin
County by channel clearing, enlargement, and levee
construction has been authorized for construction. The
improvements are designed to be coordinated with operation
of New Hogan Dam and Reservoir for regulation of flood
flows and will protect the city of Stockton and agricultural
areas along Mormon Slough and Calaveras River.
Ulatis Creek Project of the U. S. Soil Conservation
Service now under construction and about l8 percent complete
provides for channel improvement along Ulatis Creek in
Solano County on the west side of Sacramento Valley.
In the Sacramento- San Joaquin Delta numerous
leveed islands are separated by major and minor stream
channels leading from the Sacramento, San Joaquin, Cosumnes,
Mokelumne, and Calaveras Rivers. Many of the main channel
levees are part of the Sacramento River Flood Control Project
and are joined to local levee systems which form and protect
the islands, many of which are below sea level. No additional
flood control features are new planned in the Delta area,
although the U. S. Corps of Engineers has under consideration a
long-range feasibility study of constructing flood control
works as a part of a Delta master plan.
The U. S. Corps of Engineers are currently conducting
a study on navigation in the Sacramento-River Basin and Delta and
a 2B-examination of the Sacramento River Flood Control Project
which will have appreciable bearing on flood control.
The U. S. Bureau of Reclamation has presented a
plan of development and offstream storage on Kellog Creek
in Contra Costa County which includes a reservoir with a
storage capacity of 135,000 acre-feet Including a flood
control reservation of 8,000 acre-feet for protection of the
lower Kellogg Creek area. The Bureau is preparing a final
feasibility report at this time.
The most important flood control storage structure on
the Feather River is the unfinished Oroville Dam which probably
averted a disaster similar to that from the Christmas 1955
flood by temporarily impounding the record peak flow of the
Feather River and substantially reducing that peak to safe
downstream flows. When completed in 1967 the reservoir will
have a capacity of 3,500,000 acre-feet of which 650,000 acre-
feet will be available for flood control. There also are other
reservoirs on the Feather River with an aggregate storage
capacity of about 1,750,000 acre-feet, none of which is
dedicated to flood control although some incidental control
is provided. These reservoirs include those of Pacific Gas
and Electric Company, the Oroville-Wyandotte Irrigation
District and the Department of Water Resources. The largest
reservoir is Lake Almanor on the North Pork with a gross
storage of 1,308,000 acre-feet, owned by Pacific Gas and
Electric Company and operated for irrigation and power purposes.
The same company alao owns Bucks Creek Dam on Bucks Creek, a
tributary to North Fork Feather River the reservoir of which
has a gross storage capacity of 103^000 acre-feet and
Butt Valley Dam with a storage capacity of slightly less than
50,000 acre-feet which also receives water from Lake Almanor
and makes releases to the North Fork Feather River. The other
Pacific Gas and Electric reservoirs have capacities less
than 6,000 acre-feet.
The Department of Water Resources has constructed
Frenchman Dam on Little Last Chance Creek, tributary
to Middle Fork of the Feather River. The reservoir has a gross
storage capacity of 55,000 acre-feet. The water is used for
irrigation and recreation but incidental flood control also
is provided. The department also has constructed Antelope
Dam on Antelope Creek tributary to Middle Fork Feather River.
This reservoir has a gross storage capacity of 22,000 acre-feet,
and being empty greatly reduced the flood peak on Indian
Creek through Genessee and Indian Valleys.
Other major water storage features include those
of the Oroville-Wyandotte Irrigation District which aggregates
165,000 acre-feet for irrigation, municipal, power and domestic
use. These Include: Little Grass Valley Reservoir on South
Fork Feather River with a storage capacity of 93,000 acre-
feet. Sly Creek Reservoir on Sly Creek with a storage capacity
of 65,000 acre-feet and the Lost Creek, Ponderosa, and Miners
Ranch Reservoirs with aggregate storage capacity of about
Construction in the Feather River Basin includes
Grizzly Valley Dam on Big Grizzly Creek which will provide
83,000 acre-feet of storage for recreation and conservation.
Construction by the Department of Water Resources was
Initiated in the fall of 196^. Planned construction includes
Dixie Refuge Dam on Last Chance Creek with a storage of
16,000 acre-feet and Abbey Bridge on Red Clover Creek with
a storage of 11,000 acre- feet. These dams are authorized for
construction by the department for recreation use but construction
has not been scheduled.
Reservoirs on the Yuba River above Marysville provide
approximately ^90,000 acre-feet of storage capacity. These
reservoirs are operated by Pacific Gas and Electric Company,
Nevada Irrigation District, and Browns Valley Irrigation
District. They Include Jackson Meadows Reservoir on Jackson
Creek tributary to the Middle Yuba River with a storage
capacity of 68,000 acre-feet. Lake Spaulding on the South
Pork Yuba River with a storage capacity of 7^,500 acre-
feet. Bowman Lake on Canyon Creek, 68,000 acre-feet, Scotts
Flat on Deer Creek with a storage capacity of 52,000 acre-feet,
Bullards Bar on the North Yuba with a storage capacity of 31,500
acre-feet, Fordyce on Fordyce Creek, ^7,000 acre-feet,
Englebright debris control dam on the Yuba River with
a storage capacity of 70,000 acre-feet and Virginia Ranch
Dam on Dry Creek tributary to Yuba River with a storage
capacity of 57^000 acre-feet. These reservoirs are operated
for power and irrigation purposes and have no flood control
Marysvllle Reservoir on the Yuba River a few miles
above Marysvllle has been proposed for flood control and water
conservation by federal, state and local interests. As now
planned the project would Impound 1,000,000 acre-feet of which
260,000 would be for flood control. Recent studies by the
Department and the Corps of Engineers show the project to be
economically justified and the reservoir is urgently needed.
New Bullards Bar Dam on the Yuba River is planned as
part of the Yuba Co\inty Water Agency project for power, con-
servation, flood control and recreation. A 930^000 acre-foot
reservoir is planned with 170,000 acre-feet of flood control
storage which would be operated in cooperation with Marysvllle
Reservoir for flood control. Pinal formulation of a project
is now being completed.
Reservoirs on the Bear River have a total capacity
of about 172,500 acre-feet including the 103,500 acre-feet
Camp Far West Reservoir of South Sutter Water District and
the 9^000 acre-foot Combie Reservoir and the recently completed
60,000 acre-foot Rollins Reservoir, both of Nevada Irrigation
District. The Bear River system is operated for power
and for irrigation with no flood control reservations.
since the volume of storage is relatively large in comparison
with the runoff some incidental flood control is provided.
Reservoirs on the American River have a total of
about Ij 460, 000 acre-feet including Folsom Reservoir a unit
of the Central Valley Project with 1,000,000 acre-feet storage
capacity, and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District's
Upper American River Project totaling 393^700 acre-feet includ-
ing Loon Lake Reservoir 75^500, Gerle Creek Reservoir 1,200,
Union Valley Reservoir 271, 000, and Ice House Reservoir with
46,000 acre-feet. There also is the 20,000 acre-foot
Stumpy Meadows Reservoir owned by Georgetown Divide Public
Utility District and the North Pork Dam for debris control
with a storage capacity of l4, 600 acre-feet. Folsom Reservoir
is the only one of these with a flood control reservation.
Folsom Reservoir has a flood control reservation of 400,000
acre-feet and, together with the downstream levee system
with a capacity of 115^000 cfs, provides protection from floods
of the American River System.
The Middle Pork American River Project, including
the 134,000 acre-foot French Meadows Reservoir and the
208,400 acre-foot Hell Hole Reservoir, is now under construc-
tion by the Placer Coiinty Water Agency. No flood control
reservation is included. During the recent floods partially
completed Hell Hole Dam was overtopped and washed out releasing
30,000 acre-feet of water and resulting in severe damage to
roads and bridges. Including destruction of the Highway 49
bridge near Aubiirn.
Auburn Reservoir on the North Pork American River
has been proposed by the State for construction since 1931 when
It was presented as a major linlt of The State Water Plan. It
was further considered and strongly recommended by the Depart-
ment In 1957 as a key feature of the California Water Plan.
In 1959, the Bureau of Reclamation recommended con-
struction of Auburn Reservoir with a storage capacity of
1,000,000 acre-feet as a unit of the Central Valley Project.
The reservoir would be operated for flood control and hydro-
electric power and to provide water for distribution south-
ward through the proposed Folsom-South Canal. The State's
comments on this proposal were favorable and congressional
authorization was unsuccessfully attempted.
In 1961, the Bureau reconsidered Auburn Reservoir
and recommended the storage capacity be 2,500,000 acre-feet.
The State's comments again were favorable. Attempts to obtain
congressional authorization have continued and are being
actively pressed at this session of Congress.
Under the proposed plan of operation for Auburn
Reservoir, 200,000 acre-feet of flood control storage In
Folsom Reservoir would be transferred to Auburn Reservoir
where a total of 450,000 acre-feet of flood control storage
would be provided.
Folsom Dam on December 25 ^ 1964
Sly Park Dam on the Cosumnes River with a gross
storage capacity of 41,000 acre-feet is the only development
on the Cosumnes River. There is no flood control reservation.
The dam is owned and operated by the U. S. Bureau of Reclamation.
Tlie Cosumnes River Project proposed by the
U. S. Bureau of Reclamation is a multiple-purpose plan for
ivater conservation, flood control, power, fish and wildlife
enhancement, recreation and water quality control. If
authorized, the project would consist of an Initial and
ultimate phase and be integrated with the Central Valley
The primary storage features included in a Initial phase
are: (l) Nashville Dam and Reservoir, (2) Aukum Dam and
Reservoir on South Fork Cosumnes River, (3) Pi-Pi Dam and
Reservoir on Middle Fork Cosumnes River, and (4) Irish
Hill Dam and Reservoir on Dry Creek. A total of 225,000 acre-feet
of flood control storage at Nashville and Irish Hill Reservoirs
would provide much needed flood protection to lands adjacent to
Cosumnes River and Dry Creek.
Major water storage developments on the Mokeliimne
River System Include recently completed Camanche Dam and
Reservoir owned by East Bay Municipal Utility District with
a gross storage capacity of 431, 500 acre-feet, Pardee Dam
and Reservoir also owned by East Bay Municipal Utility
District with a storage capacity 210,000 acre-feet and Salt
Springs Dam and Reservoir owned by Pacific Gas and Electric
with a gross storage capacity of 139,400 acre-feet. None of
these facilities has a flood control reservation, although
the large storage capacity in relation to runoff provides some
incidental protection. The Corps of Engineers now has a
flood control project under advanced study.
New Hogan Dam and Reservoir with a gross storage
capacity of 325,000 acre-feet and a flood control reservation
of 165,000 was recently completed by the U. S. Corps of
Engineers and is operated for water conservation and flood
Montlcello Dam and Reservoir on Lower Putah Creek
with a storage capacity of 1,600,000 acre-feet Is operated by
the U. S. Bureau of Reclamation for water conservation as
part of the Central Valley Project. Although there Is no
flood control reservation in the facility, the large storage
capacity does provide a large measure of flood protection on
Clear Lake Dam which regulates 420,000 acre-feet of
capacity in Clear Lake controls flows from the drainage area
tributary to Clear Lake. This storage capacity is operated
for conservation but also provides some flood control on
Cache Creek, althoiigh the lower 550 square miles of the
drainage area are uncontrolled at the present time.
In the watershed tributary to Clear Lake the streams
are substantially uncontrolled, although channel Improvements,
levees, and minor dams have been constructed in some areas.
The Adobe Creek Project of the U. S. Soil Conservation Service
to provide channel Improvements on Adobe Creek is 85 percent
The U. S. Corps of Engineers has nearly completed
Middle Creek Project which provides for enlargement of exist-
ing levees, construction of additional levees, channel improve-
ments along the lower seven miles of Middle Creek and tributary
streams, a piimplng plant for disposal of interior drainage and
construction of a 4,000-foot channel to divert Red Clover Creek
flows around the town of Upper Lake. The project provides
flood protection to the town of Upper Lake and to about
4,000 acres of highly developed agricultural land.
Lakeport Reservoir on Scotts Creek just west of
Lakeport has been reported on favorably by the U. S. Corps of
Engineers, and authorization from the Congress has been
requested. This Is a multiple-purpose project for water con-
servation and flood control with a gross storage capacity of
55,000 acre-feet, with 24,000 acre-feet reserved for flood
control. Wilson Valley Dam on Cache Creek below the North
Fork was planned, as part of a larger project by Yolo County
Flood Control and Water Conservation District, to provide a
gross storage capacity of 1,000,000 acre-feet, with 65,000
acre-feet of flood control reservation, but the project was
rejected by the voters in 1964. The district is now conduct-
ing studies of a 300,000 acre-foot reservoir at Indian Valley
on North Fork Cache Creek, with a flood control reservation of
Existing storage on Truckee River tributaries Includes
the 40,000 acre-foot Boca Reservoir on Little Truckee River and
the recently constructed Prosser Reservoir on Prosser Creek with
a storage capacity of 30,000 acre-feet, both constructed by the
U. S. Bureau of Reclamation. Boca Reservoir has no flood
control reservation but provides Incidental protection to the
downstream Truckee River area. Prosser Reservoir provides
storage for 20,000 acre-feet of flood water and provides some
protection to the Truckee River and Reno areas.
Interim channel Improvement on the Truckee River
and tributaries downstream from Lake Tahoe was made from 1959
through 1964 by the U. S. Corps of Engineers to provide for
more rapid releases from Lake Tahoe during floods, thus
alleviating damage to lakeshore properties.
In the Lake Tahoe area the U. S. Corps of Engineers
has been authorized to construct Martls Creek Reservoir
tributary to Truckee River below Truckee. This project, now In
preconstructlon planning, will create a 15^000 acre-foot
flood control reservoir to decrease flood peaks In all reaches
of the Truckee River below Martls Creek.
Stampede Reservoir on Little Truckee River above
Boca Reservoir has been authorized for construction by the
U. S. Bureau of Reclamation. This reservoir will have a total
storage capacity of 225,000 acre-feet. Including 30,000 acre-feet
flood control space to furnish additional flood protection to
downstream areas adjacent to the Truckee River and to the Reno
area. Construction may start in 1967 if constructed prior to
the Bureau's Watasheamu Project authorized for construction on
the East Fork Carson River. If the projects are constructed
simultaneously, construction will probably begin about 1970.
The Watasheamu Project will provide for a 160,000 acre-foot
reservoir with 85:, 000 acre-feet of flood control space to
furnish substantial flood protection to the Carson Valley.
The U. S. Bureau of Reclamation has completed a
preliminary study of a reservoir on West Walker River with a
gross storage capacity of 110,000 acre-feet and with a flood
reservation of 30,000 acre-feet to provide substantial down-
San Joaquin Valley
This area extends from the Stanislaus River watershed
and Sacramento- San Joaquin Delta southward to the Tehachapi
Mountains. Many flood control works have been constructed on
the waterways emanating from the base of the Sierra Nevada on
the eastern side of the valley. However, considering that the
valley is one of the important agricultural areas of the world
and its population and industries continually are expanding,
this great valley continues to need additional protection.
Lower San Joaquin River and Tributar ies _Inc ludlng Tuolumne
and~5t"anlslaus Rivers, Calll'ornla
The Lower San Joaquin River Levees, New Melones Reser-
voir, and Tuolumne River Reservoirs are U. S. Corps of Engineers'
projects which were authorized by the federal Flood Control
Act of 19^^, as modified by the Flood Control Act of 1962. These
projects are described below.
Lower San Joaquin River Levees . This project provides
for Improvement by the Federal Government of the existing channel
and levee system on the San Joaquin River from the Sacramento-
San Joaquin Delta upstream to the mouth of the Merced River,
and on the lower reaches of the Stanislaus and Tuolumne Rivers,
by Improvement of existing levees, construction of
new levees, revetment of some river banks, and removal
of accumulated snags In the river channel. The project is
an Integral unit of the U. S. Corps of Engineer's authorized plan
for flood control and other purposes In the San Joaquin River
Basin. It is designed to supplement the reservoir units of the
overall plan, consisting mainly of flood control storage on the
Tuolumne and Stanislaus Rivers and in the existing Mlllerton
Reservoir at Friant Dam on the upper San Joaquin River, by
providing channel capacities along San Joaquin River sufficient
to safely pass regulated flows. The overall plan will provide
flood protection to about 135,000 acres of agricultural land,
to numerous commercial and public installations, and to a
suburban area south of the City of Stockton.
Construction of the project was initiated in 1956
and as of January 1, 1965,was about 68 percent complete.
Construction of the left bank levee along the San Joaquin
River from the Tuolumne River to the Merced River has been
classified as "inactive" since 196I due to difficulties in
arranging for local Interests to accept maintenance
Stanislaus River . Existing developments on Stanislaus
River providing flood regulation are the Melones, Donnells,
Beardsley, and Tulloch Dams and Reservoirs with an aggregate
storage capacity of approximately 343,000 acre-feet. The pro-
tection afforded by these reservoirs, which are operated and
owned by local irrigation districts, is not adequate; and the
Corps of Engineers proposes to construct the authorized New
Melones Dam and Reservoir which will increase the
storage capacity at the Melones site from the existing 112, 5OO
acre-feet to 2,400,000 acre-feet.
New Melones will provide flood protection to about
35,000 acres of highly developed agricultural land in the flood
plain of the Stanislaus River and to the suburban areas of
Ripon, Oakdale, and Riverbank. In conjunction with storage
projects on the Tuolumne River and authorized levees on the
lower San Joaquin River, New Melones will provide flood pro-
tection to about 50,000 acres of agricultural land along the
San Joaquin River below the mouth of the Stanislaus River,
to about 185,000 acres of intensively cultivated land in the
Sacramento- San Joaquin Delta, and to suburban areas south of
the City of Stockton.
Preconstruction planning on the New Melones Project
was Initiated In January, 1964. The Corps of Engineers expects
the project to be completed In 1974.
Tuolumne River . Developments on the Tuoliomne River
affording flood regulation are Hetch-Hetchy Reservoir, and
Cherry Valley Reservoir owned by the City and County of San
Francisco and Don Pedro Reservoir owned by the Turlock and
Modesto Irrigation Districts. The three reservoirs have an
aggregate storage capacity of approximately 918,000 acre-feet
and, under agreement with the Corps of Engineers, will be
operated for flood control by the local interests until the
2,030,000 acre-foot New Don Pedro Reservoir, which will Inundate
the existing 290,000 acre-foot Don Pedro Reservoir, is con-
structed and in operation. Upon completion, flood control
regulation will be transferred to New Don Pedro. New Don Pedro
will be constructed and operated by the Turlock and Modesto Irri-
gation Districts under a copperatlve arrangement with the City
and County of San Francisco and the Federal Government.
The Federal Power Commission Issued a license for the
New Don Pedro Project on May 6, 1964. The Department of the
Interior and the California Department of Fish and Game subse-
quently filed complaints on July 6, 1964, asking for a court
hearing against the licensee and the Commission. Initiation of
construction on New Don Pedro is dependent upon the court's
Operation of the Tuolumne River reservoirs for flood
control will provide flood protection to about 8,000 acres of
agricultural lands and several communities along the Tuolumne
River. The flood control afforded by the reservoirs is
essential to the successful operation of the Lower San Joaquin
Merced Rive r
Development on the Merced River affording flood
regulation is the Merced Irrigation District's 289,000 acre-
foot Exchequer Ifeservoir. The reservoir is operated primarily
for the storage of irrigation water and the development of
hydroelectric power, but provides a considerable amount of
incidental flood regulation.
At present, construction is well under way on the
1,000,000 acre- foot New Exchequer Dam and Reservoir, the first
stage of the Merced River Development. The new reservoir will
inundate existing Exchequer Dam. New Exchequer is being
constructed by the Merced Irrigation District and will be
operated for flood control under a cooperative arrangement with
the Federal Government. The project is scheduled for completion
by January, I967.
New Exchequer will provide flood protection to about
50,000 acres of agricultural lands along the Merced River and
will alleviate flooding on the San Joaquin River and in the Delta
area. The flood control afforded by the New Exchequer project
will materially add to the effectiveness of the Corps of
Engineers' project on the lower San Joaquin River and tribu-
taries Including Tuolumne and Stanislaus Rivers.
Merced County Stream Group
The principal streams In the Merced County Stream
Group are Burns, Bear, Owens and Mariposa Creeks. The Corps
of Engineers, In 1957^ completed a flood control project on
these streams consisting of channel Improvements and retarding
reservoirs on Burns, Bear, Owens and Mariposa Creeks with
capacities of 7,000, 7,700, 3,600 and 15,000 acre-feet, res-
pectively. The project provides flood protection to about
136,000 acres of agricultural lands, the City of Merced, the
towns of Planada and Le Grand, other communities, and highway
and railroad facilities.
The existing project is not adequate for protection
against large floods and the Corps of Engineers is currently con-
ducting studies to determine a plan of improvement. The tenta-
tive plan of improvement consists of new reservoirs, namely
Castle Reservoir with a gross capacity of 11, 500 acre-feet on
Canal Creek; Haystack Mountain Reservoir with a gross capacity
of 5,900 acre-feet on Black Rascal Creek; Aqua Fria Reservoir
with a gross capacity of 66,000 acre-feet on Mariposa Creek;
Marguerite Reservoir with gross capacity of 7,500 acre-feet,
crossing both Deadman and Dutchman Creeks; the enlargement of
the existing Burns, Bear and Owens Reservoirs to capacities of
21,000, 17,000 and 6,500 acre-feet, respectively; and, as an
alternative to Aqua Frla Reservoir, enlarging existing Mariposa
Reservoir to 30,000 acre-feet. The eight reservoirs would pro-
vide 70,000 acre-feet of flood control space, and would include
recreation as a project purpose. Channel improvements would
Include 42 miles of channel enlargement, 85 miles of levee con-
struction or enlargement, and 15 miles of minor channel
The Corps expects to complete its studies and submit
a survey report thereon some time in I965.
The Mustang Creek watershed is located mostly in
northeastern Merced County. Mustang Creek, along with other
smaller streams, discharges into the High Line Canal, an irriga-
tion canal owned and operated by the Turlock Irrigation District.
The District operates its canal system to control the flood flows
of Mustang Creek, up to the capacity of its canals, by discharging
them through wasteways into the Merced or San Joaquin River.
Additional flood protection is needed. The areas
adjacent to the lovier reaches of Mustang Creek have historically
been subject to some degree of flooding in about one year out of
three. The severe flood of 1938 inundated over 1,600 acres.
Flood damages are primarily agricultural but significant damage
has occurred to a county road and the canal system of the Turlock
To alleviate the situation local interests are
sponsoring a flood control project on Mustang Creek \inder
provisions of Public Law 566, the Watershed Protection and
Flood Prevention Act. The work plan is in preparation and
should be completed in 1965. The proposed plan includes a
flood retarding stmicture in the upper watershed of Mustang
Creek, downstream channel improvement, and land treatment
There is no development of any consequence on the
Chowchilla River that affords flood protection. However,
Buchanan Reservoir was authorized by the federal Flood Control
Act of 1962. The project provides for construction of a dam
on the Chowchilla River to create a reservoir with a gross
storage capacity of 150,000 acre-feet for flood control and
other purposes and approximately five miles of channel and
levee improvements along Ash Slough, a distributary of the
Chowchilla River. The project will provide flood protection
to about 110,000 acres of urban and rural areas, including the
City of Chowchilla.
Preconstruction planning for the project was initiated
in January, 1964, by the U. S. Corps of Engineers.
There is no development of any consequence on the Fresno
River that affords flood protection. However, Hidden Reservoir
was authorized by the federal Flood Control Act of 1962. The
project provides for the construction of a dam on the Fresno
River, which will create a reservoir with a gross capacity of
about 90,000 acre-feet for flood control and other purposes,
and approximately seven miles of levee and channel Improvement
on the Fresno River downstream from the damslte. The project
will provide flood protection to about 145,000 acres of urban and
rural area, including the City of Madera.
Preconstructlon planning for the project was Initiated
in January, 1964, by the U. S. Corps of Engineers.
The Lower San Joaquin River Flood Control Project
The State is currently constructing a project along
and parallel to the San Joaquin River from the Merced River to
a point west of Fresno. The project comprises a levee and bypass
system for flood control which will permit the proper function-
ing of Friant Dam and Reservoir for flood control. The project
was initiated in 1959. To date, contracts have been completed on
about 100 miles of new levees, including appurtenant features,
and on about 100 miles of existing levees which were refaced.
The project is about 63 percent complete.
San Joaquin River Upstream from the Merced River
There are several reservoirs in the upper San Joaquin
River watershed used primarily for power generation that pro-
vide some flood storage but the most important dam on the
river Is Prlant Dam located at the rim of the valley. The dam
and 520,500 acre-foot reservoir were built by the U. S. Bureau
of Reclamation as part of the Central Valley Project and are
operated by the Bureau in accordance with flood control cri-
teria which requires a flood control reservation of 390,000
acre-feet. The flood storage and regulation afforded by Friant
Reservoir (Millerton Lake) alleviates flooding downstream
along the San Joaquin River.
Big Dry Creek
Flood control facilities on Big Dry Creek consist of
Big Dry Creek Reservoir and diversion facilities both upstream
and downstream from the reservoir which were constructed by the
U. S. Corps of Engineers in 19^8. The reservoir has a gross
storage capacity of 16,250 acre-feet, all of which is reserved
for flood control.
By diverting the flows of Dog and Big Creeks to Little
Dry Creek, and subsequently to the San Joaquin River, the proj-
ect provides a high degree of flood protection to the Cities of
Fresno and Clovis and their suburban areas.
Courtright and Wishon Reservoirs, constructed in the
upper Kings River watershed for power purposes by the Pacific
Gas and Electric Company, afford some flood storage, but the
principal development on the Kings River providing flood pro-
tection is the Pine Flat Project, constructed by the Corps of
Engineers in 195^. The project comprises (l) Pine Flat Dam and
Reservoir which has an impounding capacity of 1,000,000 acre-
feet and is operated primarily for flood control, and (2)
downstream channel Improvements on the Kings River and its
distributaries on the valley floor to provide capacity to
contain flood releases from the reservoir, to permit proper
operation of the reservoir, and to assure proper division of
flood flows through the several distributaries.
The channel improvements remain to be constructed.
Current schedules call for initiation of construction of these
remaining Improvements in fiscal year 1965 and for completion in
fiscal year 1966.
The project will protect some 80,000 acres of rich
agricultural lands in the Kings River area and will provide
protection against the flooding of 260,000 acres of excellent
croplands in the Tulare Lake Basin.
Flood protection on the Kaweah River is provided by
Terminus Dam and Reservoir constructed by the Corps of Engineers
In 1962. The reservoir has a gross storage capacity of
150,000 acre-feet and Is operated primarily for flood control.
The reservoir provides a high degree of flood protection to
about 126,000 acres of agricultural and suburban lands in the
Kaweah River Delta area, including the City of Vlsalia and
adjacent urban and suburban areas and provides protection from
waters of the Kaweah River to 260,000 acres of highly productive
land In the Tulare Lake Basin.
Flood protection on the Tule River Is provided by
Success Dam and Reservoir constructed by the Corps of Engineers
In 1961. The reservoir has a gross storage capacity of about
80,000 acre-feet and Is operated primarily for flood control.
The reservoir provides protection to about 60, 000 acres of
agricultural and suburban lands along the Tule River and dis-
tributaries, to the City of Portervllle and suburban areas,
and provides protection from waters of the Tule River to 260,000
acres of highly productive agricultural land In the Tulare Lake
Flood protection on the Kern River Is provided by
Isabella Dam and Reservoir constructed by the Corps of Engineers
In 1953. The reservoir has a gross storage capacity of 570,000
acre-feet and Is operated primarily for flood control. The
project also Improves the Irrigation water supply In the Kern
River Delta area. The reservoir provides protection to about
350,000 acres of agricultural lands and oil fields In the Kern
River Delta area, to the City of Bakersfleld, and provides pro-
tection from waters of the Kern River to 260,000 acres of cropland
In the Tulare Lake Basin.
The Corps of Engineers Is currently Investigating
further water resources development on the Kern River in the
interest of flood control, recreation, irrigation, and other
piirposes, and expects to complete a survey report in 1965.
Poso Stream Group
This stream group, located between the Tule and Kern
Rivers, is composed of Poso and Deer Creeks and White River.
Flooding on these streams results from rainstorms, and
the flood flows are characterized by sharp peaks. Damage occurs
to roads and bridges and, where the flood waters spread out, to
cropland and local communities.
The Corps of Engineers is conducting studies of the
stream group to determine whether provision for flood control
improvements on the three streams is economically feasible.
Consideration is being given to reservoir storage, levees, and
channel improvement. The studies are being coordinated with the
Bureau of Reclamation as that agency is proposing an 800,000
acre-foot dam and reservoir on Deer Creek as part of its pro-
posed East Side Division of the Central Valley Project. The
Corps expects to complete a survey report on its studies in
Central Coast and Bay Area
This embraces an area from Napa and Marin Counties on
the north to Monterey County on the south. There are numerous
flood control works in this area. However, there also are some
important gaps or omissions as indicated herein.
Santa Cruz Area
The San Lorenzo River system drains about 120 square
miles above the City of Santa Cruz and includes one dam which
provides flood control only incidental to water conservation.
The Loch Lomond Reservoir on Newell Creek has a total storage
capacity of 8,400 acre-feet and controls only about ten per-
cent of the total runoff.
Within the City of Santa Cruz the U. S. Corps of
Engineers completed the San Lorenzo River Project in November,
1959. This project provides levees and flood walls along the
loxver 2.5 miles of the San Lorenzo River together with minor
channel improvements for the purpose of providing flood protec-
tion to the city. There are also included channel improvements
and rectification of Branciforte Creek. The improvements
provide for design flows of 36,800 cfs in the San Lorenzo River
above Branciforte Creek, 5^600 cfs in Branciforte Creek and
40, 600 cfs below Branciforte Creek. This provides protection
from a flood which is not expected to be equalled or exceeded
on an average of once in 350 years. Flood peaks in Branciforte
Creek normally do not occur at the same time as flood peaks in
the San Lorenzo River.
Soquel Creek drains about 40 square miles and Is a
flashy stream with a peak being produced about four hours
after the occurrence of a flood-producing storm. Channel
Improvement since the floods of 1955 includes channel clearing
in the lower basin reaches made under provisions contained in
Public Law 875. Existing flood control improvements constructed
by local interests consist of noncontinuous bank protection
The Pajaro River drains 1,300 square miles of the Coast
Range of California. There are five dams which provide flood
control only incidental to water conservation. These are: (l)
Pacines Dam on a stream tributary to Tres Pinos Creek with a
reservoir capacity of 4,500 acre-feet; (2) Hernandez Dam on the
San Benito River with a reservoir capacity of 18,000 acre-feet;
(3) North Fork Pacheco Creek Dam with a reservoir capacity of
6,150 acre-feet; (4) Chesbro Dam on Llagas Creek with a reser-
voir capacity of 7,630 acre-feet; and (5) Uvas Dam on Uvas Creek
with a reservoir capacity of 10,000 acre-feet.
The existing federal flood control project, completed
in 1949, consists of about 11 miles of levee along the lower
Pajaro River and 2 miles of levee on Salsipuedes Creek immediately
above its confluence with the Pajaro River. The levee maintenance
is provided by the Santa Cruz County Storm Drain District and by
the Monterey County Flood Control and Water Conservation
District. With the existing project the river channel has a
capacity of about 19,000 cfs or a frequency of about once in
Upstream from the Corps of Engineers' project on
Corralitos Creek, bank-protection works have been constructed
by private individuals and the Santa Cruz County Flood Control
and Water Conservation District. The Counties of Monterey and
Santa Cruz and the City of Watsonville have expended approxi-
mately $200,000 on channel clearing, levee maintenance and bank-
protection works along Corralitos and Salsipuedes Creeks and
Pajaro River in Pajaro Valley since completion of the federal
project in 19^9.
In the upper Salinas River basin there is an earthfill
dam and reservoir on the Nacimiento River with a total storage
capacity of 350,000 acre-feet of which 150,000 acre-feet is
reserved for flood control.
At the present time there are no major flood control
works on the lower Salinas River other than a few bank-protection
works built by the County of Monterey, Southern Pacific Company,
and individual land owners. The overall effectiveness of the
protective measures have been greatly reduced because of the
limited reaches over which the works extend.
There is also an earthflll dam on the San Antonio
River now under construction and scheduled for completion by
1966. This dam and reservoir will have a total storage
capacity of 350,000 acre-feet with 50,000 acre-feet allocated
to flood control.
There are two small dams and conservation reservoirs
on the Carmel River which provide some incidental flood control.
These two reservoirs are the San Clemente and Los Padres Reser-
voirs with storage capacity of 3,100 acre-feet and 2,150 acre-
The small federal flood control project on Coyote
Creek consists of channel improvements in the community of
Tamalpais Valley. The improvements which were begun in July,
1964 consist of a concrete-lined rectangular channel section for
a distance of 2,900 feet and an enlarged earth channel section
for 4,000 lineal feet. The project, as of January, 1965, is
approximately 85 percent complete.
Residential areas along Novato Creek are afforded some
protection from flooding by existing levees. Stafford Lake, a
water supply reservoir, also contributes some protection. The
only other works are local pumps and widening and clearing of
the lower end of Novato Creek.
Water supply reservoirs of the North Marin County
Water District and Marin Municipal Water Districts contain a
gross capacity of more than 50,000 acre-feet. These reser-
voirs, although not utilized specifically for flood control,
probably have an incidental effect on flood flows in the local
In that portion of southern Sonoma County that drains
into San Pablo Bay, there is only a little more than 1,000 acre-
feet of storage capacity in local conservation reservoirs. It
is doubtful that this small amo\int of storage provides much
incidental flood control to the area.
The Napa River Watershed Project is currently in the
initial stages of construction. The watershed work plan covers
approximately 135,000 acres tributary to the Napa River. Channel
improvements will run from Oakville Crossroad to Imola Avenue.
This construction will include channel improvements on Napa River,
a 3,000 acre-foot flood detention reservoir on Redwood Creek,
one mile of channel improvements on Tulucay Creek which has been
completed, and 2.4 miles of channel improvements on Conn Creek.
A 31,000 acre-foot water conservation reservoir now exists on
Conn Creek. The watershed work plan was designed for a ten percent
chance flow in agricultural areas and a one percent chance flow
in the urban areas.
There are almost 40,000 acre-feet of conservation
storage capacity In Napa County reservoirs of which 31,000
Is In Hennessey Reservoir on Conn Creek. Some degree of Inci-
dental flood control Is obtained from this storage.
Solano C ounty
The Green Valley Greek flood control project consists
of channel realignment and enlargement for 4.3 miles along
lower Green Valley Creek and Dan V/llson Creek. Channel works
were constructed on Green Valley Creek from 12,000 feet above
Pall Road down to Cordelia Slough, near State Highway 40. Con-
struction on Dan Wilson Creek went from Rockville Road to its
confluence with Green Valley Creek, a length of 2.6 miles.
Project construction has recently been completed.
The Vallejo Sanitation and Flood Control District
operates Chabot Reservoir to provide some flood control regula-
tion. In addition, there are other channelization features.
However, the facilities are overtaxed during a heavy storm.
In the southwestern portion of Solano County there is
a total of about 20,000 acre-feet of storage capacity which
probably provides some degree of incidental flood protection.
Contra Costa County
The Marsh-Kellogg Watershed Project of the U. S. Soil
Conservation Service is now under construction involves an area
of about 116,000 acres and is located in the vicinity of
Brentwood. The plan Includes construction of detention reser-
voirs on Marsh Creek and its principal tributaries. Dry and
Deer Creeks, and channel Improvements on Sand Creek and Marsh
Creek below the junction with Sand Creek. Improvements on
Kellogg Creek Include a flood water retarding structure and a
side channel reservoir and diversion.
Construction has been completed on the Marsh Creek,
Dry Creek, and Deer Creek floodwater detention dams and the
Kellogg Creek side channel reservoir and diversion. Construc-
tion is in progress on 5.2 miles of earth channel improvements
on lower Marsh Creek.
Detailed plans are being prepared for channel improve-
ments on Deer, Dry, Sand, Middle, and Upper Marsh Creeks. The
design of the Kellogg Creek flood water retarding structure is
being deferred pending completion of feasibility studies by the
U. S. Bureau of Reclamation on a large reservoir in the Kellogg
The Walnut Creek Watershed Project of the U. S. Soil
Conservation Service, consisting primarily of channel improve-
ments, covers an area of approximately 72,600 acres. Channel
Improvements include drop structures, overpours, chutes, linings,
enlargements, and levees. A total of about 33 miles of channel
improvements on Grayson, Galindo, San Ramon, and Lafayette Creeks
(tributaries to Walnut Creek), are included in the project. Work
is essentially completed at this time.
Channel construction on the Corps of Engineers' Walnut
Creek Project is presently underway on Reach 1 of Walnut Creek
from Arnold Industrial Highway to Sulsun Bay. Work involves
utility and bridge relocations, together with channel widening
Approximately 1.5 miles of channel Improvements were
constructed on Rheem Creek from San Pablo Avenue to San Pablo
Bay. Construction Included 6,300 linear feet of trapezoidal
earth channel and 1,500 linear feet of rectangular concrete
channel. Rheem Creek drains approximately 1,400 acres. Channel
designs were selected to carry flows from 600 second-feet at
the upstream end, to 800 second-feet at the mouth of the creek.
Construction was completed in November, 19^0.
Local responsibility for flood control within Alameda
County is lodged with the Alameda Flood Control and Water Con-
servation District. Since the formation of the District in 19^9
various special zones have been authorized by the local elector-
ate and the District presently is directing the planning, con-
struction, and operation of flood control works in nine active
zones embracing about 90 percent of the land area of the county.
Not covered by special districts are the Berkeley-Albany area, the
Piedmont area, the Alameda area and some East Bay Municipal
Utility District property, all in the northern portion of the
A significant local flood control project is the down-
stream channel improvement works on San Lorenzo Creek recently
completed by the U. S. Corps of Engineers in cooperation with the
Alameda County Flood Control and Water Conservation District. The
lower reach of the federal San Lorenzo Creek Flood Control Proj-
ect extends from San Francisco Bay to Foothill Boulevard and
consists of leveed and riprapped channel extending about 1.4
miles upstream from the mouth, concrete channel for about 3.9
miles, and channel clearing and stabilization works for the
balance of the 7.3 miles of the project. Construction of the
upper portion of the project from Foothill Boulevard to "B"
Street has not as yet been authorized.
Incidental flood control is derived from two small
reservoirs on the upper reaches of San Lorenzo Creek. San
Lorenzo Creek Dam, an earthfill structure 75 feet in height
which can impound about 38O acre-feet of water, and Cull Creek
Dam, another earthfill structure 55 feet in height which can
impound 295 acre-feet of water, were recently completed by the
District as multiple-purpose projects. While no flood control
reservations are included, both reservoirs are kept at low
levels during the first part of the stormy season to provide
flood protection until the time necessary to fill for conserva-
tion and recreation purposes. The installations also serve as
debris control facilities.
A flood detention dam and reservoir with a capacity of
130 acre-feet has been constructed on Ward Creek by the county
district, in cooperation with the City of Hayivard and the State
Division of Highways.
The District has, since 1954, the date of the first
flood control construction on San Lorenzo Creek, executed some
200 contracts and agreements, and has constructed 23 miles of
concrete-lined channel, 112 miles of earth-lined channel.
45 miles of underground conduit, 52 miles of levees, and
numerous structures consisting of dikes, tide gates, bridges,
pumping plants, and culverts. As of July 1, 1964, local
projects totaling about $75 million have been authorized,
and expenditures on these projects have been about $25 million.
In addition to the flood control works provided by,
and in cooperation with, the District, existing reservoirs of
East Bay Municipal Utility District, City of San Francisco, the
East Bay Regional Park District, and others assist in minimiz-
ing the effects of flood flows in Alameda County resulting from
high runoff conditions.
Santa Clara County
The Santa Clara County Flood Control and Water Conser-
vation District is divided into five zones which represent
groups of watersheds within the County. A needed program for
improvements through the developed urban areas has essentially
been completed in the Northwest Zone with the exception of San
In the North Central zone a bond financed program of
improvements is presently imderway and will be completed in the
next two years.
The third zone is the Central Zone which includes the
watershed of Los Gatos and Canoas Creeks and the Guadalupe River.
Most of the improvements in this zone are on the Guadalupe River
downstream from the Civic Center to the vicinity of the town of
Alvlso. Work is proceeding on a pay-as-you-go plan. The City
of Los Gatos receives some incidental flood protection from
Lexington Reservoir which is located on Los Gatos Creek.
The East Zone has several small channel improvement
projects but is an area in which very little work is undertaken
annually because of the low income from a maximum tax rate.
In the South Zone there have been little if any con-
struction of flood control works, except some local improve-
ments along the Pajaro River and Llagas Creek.
San Mateo County
At the present time there are no existing flood control
works in San Mateo County with the exception of some locally
sponsored protective measures such as bank stabilization works
and levees. In most instances, however, these works have been
ineffective. Some incidental flood protection is probably
realized on San Mateo, San Andreas, and Pilarcitos Creeks due
to reservoirs of the City of San Francisco.
Federal, state, and local agencies in Southern Cali-
fornia have cooperated to construct many miles of channels and
levees, and dams to protect residential and agricultural areas
in Southern California. These existing flood control projects
provide various degrees of protection to the area.
Central Coastal Area
The major existing flood control works In the
Central Coastal area are the Arroyo Grande Creek Watershed
Project, the Santa Maria River Levee Project, and the Santa
Ynez River Watershed Project.
Arroyo Grande Creek Watershed Project . This project
is in San Luis Obispo County starting at a point about two
miles northeast of the City of San Luis Obispo and flowing
about 25 miles to the Pacific Ocean near Oceano. The project
provides for increasing the capacity of Arroyo Grande Creek,
diversion of Los Berros Creek into Arroyo Grande Creek, control
of Lopez Creek and Tar Canyon Creek with tidal gates and
erosion control and stabilization of miles of sand dunes along
the coast by planting. This project is operated by the San
Luis Obispo County Flood Control and Water Conservation
Santa Maria River Levee Project . This project is
located in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties about
60 miles northwest of Santa Barbara. The project includes
channel clearing and construction of intake levees at head-
waters of Santa Maria River, construction of a 17-niile levee
along the left bank from Fuglers Point to 600 feet downstream
from State Highway Bridge at Guadalupe, construction of a
five-mile levee along the right bank from 1.25 miles downstream
from U. S. Highway 101 Bridge to 1.5 miles upstream of Southern
Pacific Railroad Bridge at Guadalupe, and a 1.8 mile levee
along Bradley Canyon. The project will provide flood protection
for the City of Santa Maria and for agricultural lands in the
Santa Maria Valley. The project is part of a comprehensive
improvement which includes the multiple-purpose Twitchell Reser-
voir on the Cuyama River and was completed in 1958 by the
Bureau of Reclamation. Construction of some parts of the
project is complete. Construction of the final portions was
initiated in 196I. This project is operated by the County of
Santa Ynez River Watershed Project . This project is
in Santa Barbara County about 100 miles northwest of Los
The watershed is about 900 square miles in area. The
plan consists of (l) additional fire control and cover improve-
ment measures on the forest lands and (2) structural measures;
including grassed waterways, terraces and check dams to reduce
erosion; cleaning and enlargement of existing channels and
construction of some additional channels, levees, culverts and
bridges. The project was designed to function in conjunction
with the existing Cachvima and Gibraltar Reservoirs. This proj-
ect is operated by the County of Santa Barbara.
South Coastal Area
There are major existing flood control works in the
South Coastal area as follows:
Ventura River Basin Project . This project is on the
left bank of the lower Ventura River at Ventiira. The levee is
2.64 miles in length. It gives protection to the City of
Ventura against floods on the Ventura River by a rock-revetted
earthfill levee. The area protected comprises about 1,500
acres of agricultural and commercial land. The levee was com-
pleted December, 19^8. This project is operated by the Ventura
County Flood Control District.
The Stewart Canyon portion of the project is on a
tributary of the Ventura River and extends from the mouth of
Stewart Canyon through the City of Ojai, about l4 miles above
the mouth of Ventura River. The project provides for construc-
tion of a debris basin at the mouth of Stewart Canyon and a
rectangular concrete channel and concrete -covered channel from
the debris basin through Ojai. The project provides flood
protection for residential and business districts in Ojai. This
project is operated by the Ventura County Flood Control District.
Santa Clara River Levee Project . This project Is on
the lower Santa Clara River in Ventura County. The project
provides for construction of 4.7 miles of levee along the left
side of the lower Santa Clara River. It provides flood pro-
tection to Oxnard Plain, the City of Oxnard and the naval base
at Port Hueneme. Construction of the Santa Clara River levee
was completed in April, I96I.
Santa Clara River Levee Project (Santa Paula Creek
Channel) is on lower Santa Paula Creek in Ventura Covin ty. The
project provides for construction of a concrete channel from
near the mouth of Santa Paula Canyon to the Santa Clara River,
a distance of approximately three miles. This improvement
will protect the City of Santa Paula and nearby agricultural
areas. The Santa Clara River Projects are operated by the
Ventiira County Flood Control District.
Calleguas Creek Watershed Project . This project is
in southeastern Ventura County. There are two independent
portions of the project. One includes the reach of Calleguas
Creek between the Highway 101-A bridge and a point 86O feet
upstream from the State Hospital bridge. The second portion
includes the Walnut and Gabbert Canyons' watersheds west of
Moorpark. It protects the City of Moorpark and rich agri-
cultural lands from flooding and from damage by silt deposit.
This project is operated by the Ventura Coionty Flood Control
Los Angeles River Watershed Project . This project.
In an area of about 150 square miles of the upper Los Angeles
River basin in the western side of Los Angeles County, pro-
vides for improvement of runoff and water flow retardation and
erosion prevention in aid of flood control on the watershed of
the Los Angeles River.
Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers and Ballona Creek
Project . This project is along the Los Angeles and San Gabriel
Rivers, the Rio Hondo, and Ballona Creek, and tributaries
thereof in Los Angeles County. The project provides for con-
struction of five flood control reservoirs or basins, 29 debris
basins, 101.3 miles of main channel, 179.^ miles of tributary
channels, and two jetties. In general, standard project floods
are used as channel-design floods.
Kenter Canyon Conduit and Channel . This project is
in the southwestern part of Los Angeles Covinty. It consists
principally of a subsurface drain that begins near the inter-
section of Wilshire Boulevard and McClellan Drive in Los
Angeles and extends 3.4 miles, for the most part beneath
Broadway and Colorado Avenues in Santa Monica, to the ocean
at Pico Boulevard. The improvement prevents serious flood
damage to valuable residential and business properties in
Santa Monica. The project was constructed as an emergency
work-relief project and was completed in 1937.
The foregoing three projects are operated by the Los
Angeles County Flood Control District.
Santa Ana River Basin Project . This project Is on the
Santa Ana River and tributaries and other streams in Riverside
and San Bernardino Counties. It provides for construction of
four levee and channel Improvement projects: Devil, East Twin,
and Warm Creek improvements and Lytle Creek levees, San
Bernardino County; Riverside levees; Mill Creek levees near
Redlands, San Bernardino County; and San Jacinto River levees
and Bautista Creek channel near San Jacinto and Hemet, Cali-
fornia, Riverside County. The project will provide protection
for the City of San Bernardino and vicinity and nearby water
supply wells. It also will provide flood protection to suburban
areas located in the northwest part of Riverside, most of
Rubldoux, to Redlands and Mentone, California, and valuable
citrus orchards in the floodplain. This project is operated
by the San Bernardino County Flood Control District and the
Riverside Covmty Flood Control and Water Conservation District.
The Santa Ana River Basin (and Orange County) Project
also is on the Santa Ana River and tributaries and other streams
in Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. It provides
for construction of seven flood control dams, two flood control
dams with downstream channels, and related flood control works
for protection of metropolitan area of Orange County; control
of floods on San Antonio and Chlno Creeks; and the Lytle and
Cajon Creeks project to provide local flood protection at San
Bernardino and Colton, California.
City Creek Levee Project . This project Is about
5.5 miles east of the City of San Bernardino in San Bernardino
Coiinty. The proposed project Includes construction of about
2,550 feet of new leve^, revetting of about 3,400 feet of
existing levee and excavation of 4,600 feet of channel. This
project is operated by the San Bernardino County Flood Control
Escondldo Creek Watershed Project . This project is
in the City of Escondldo. The plans provide for construction
of a 2,325 acre-foot capacity flood prevention and water
management reservoir and realigning, enlarging, and lining
existing natural channels through Escondldo. This project will
be operated by the City of Escondldo.
Buena Vista Creek Watershed Project . This project is
on Buena Vista Creek in San Diego County. The plan provides for
the enlargement, realignment, and lining of portions of Buena
Vista Creek and its principal tributaries through Vista. Con-
struction was started in I962. The project will be operated by
the County of San Diego.
San Diego and Mission Bay Project . This project is
on the San Diego River at San Diego. The project provides for
a leveed flood channel 800 feet wide from 0.4 mile above Morena-J
Boulevard to the ocean (3.0 miles); dredging of entrance
channel 20 feet deep into Mission Bay from the ocean; and con-
struction of three stone jetties at entrance and other harbor
improvements. The channel improvement on the San Diego River
provides flood protection for the City of San Diego. The
original flood control project provided for a levee system
from Presidio Hill eastward for 6,700 feet and a cutoff levee
of about 900 feet southward from the main levee. The flood
control project was completed in 1959. This project is
operated by the City of San Diego.
San Diego County Flood Hazard Investigation
A cooperative Investigation was carried on by the
Department of Water Resources and the County of San Diego in
order to delineate areas of potential Inundation along portions
of the San Luis Rey, San Dieguito, San Diego, Sweetwater and
Otay Rivers in San Diego County. This report was made available
to the County for their use in flood control project planning
and proper management of the flood plain.
Colorado Desert Area
The Tahchevah Creek Project is only the major flood
control project in the Colorado Desert Area. This project is
in the City of Palm Springs. It consists of an earthfill
embankment at the mouth of Tehchevah Canyon creating a deten-
tion reservoir with a capacity of 900 acre-feet, a concrete-
lined spillway in the right end of the embankment, a
1,200-foot stone dike to direct flows from the outlet works,
a concrete-lined channel from the reservoir to Palm Canyon
Drive, an underground conduit from Palm Canyon Drive to a point
about 5^0 feet upstream from the junction of Tahchevah Creek
and Barlsto Creek, and an xonllned, excavated earth channel
from the downstream end of the conduit to Baristo Creek. This
project will be operated by the Riverside County Flood Control
and Water Conservation District.
Quail Wash Levee Project . This project is located in
San Bernardino County about 0.5 mile southeast of the community
of Joshua Tree and consists of a compacted earthfill levee
about 2,660 feet long, with an average height of 9.5 feet and
grouted-stone revetment on the channel side. The project is
operated by the San Bernardino County Flood Control District.
Presently there are no existing flood control or water-
shed protection projects in the Southern California portion of
the Lahontan area.
CHAPTER IV. FLOOD FIGHT RESPONSIBILITIES AND RESOURCES
In California there is no single agency responsible
for flood fighting. Each local, state, or federal agency with
statutory responsibilities for flood control work cooperate to
the extent each has capability. The effort of each in Northern
California are coordinated through the Flood Operation Center
of the Department of Water Resources. By agreements with the
Corps of Engineers, with the U. S. Weather Bureau, and with
the Division of Forestry, the Department has developed plans
and procedures to utilize the capabilities of these organi-
In Northern" and Central California all requests for
local flood-fighting assistance are directed to the Department.
If the resources of the Department are exhausted it will
channel requests from local agencies to the Corps of Engineers.
In other areas of the State, these local requests may be made
directly to the Corps.
The Corps of Engineers is responsible for securing
assistance from all other federal agencies such as the Sixth
The California Disaster Office and Its regional
offices are responsible for coordinating mutual aid during
natural disasters. The Department of Water Resources cooper-
ates with the California Disaster Office in this coordinating
The flood emergency resources available are broad
and extensive and are discussed in detail later in this report
by agencies. The declaration of a flood emergency by the
Governor makes the entire resources of the State Government
available to aid designated stricken areas. The Governor
generally takes this action after local agencies have exhausted
their resources or it is apparent that they soon will.
A declaration of national emergency by the President
releases additional resources for flood fighting and for
recovery. This makes available the resources of all federal
agencies to the extent that they are needed. This includes
the manpower and materials available to the Corps of Engineers
either through its own resources, or from the Sixth Army,
Navy, Air Force, or Marines. In addition, the Office of
Emergency Planning initiates its program under prearranged
agreements with the California Disaster Office.
The utilization of the resources of the State and of
the federal agencies has been planned and organized in an
orderly fashion so as to insure that when a flood emergency
develops, the capabilities and resources of related local,
state, and federal agencies are available to combat the emer-
gency. The duties of the many involved agencies are described
more fully in the following paragraphs.
California Department of Water Resources
In a flood emergency the Department provides services,
funds, manpower, and equipment and supplies.
The Department provides flood emergency services
before, during, and following the flood emergency. These
services Include: planning, execution, and coordination of
flood fighting operations of local, state, and federal agen-
cies through the Flood Operations Center; flood warning and
river forecasts on the principal streams In Northern and Cen-
tral California; training In flood fighting techniques for
local, private, and public groups; and technical assistance In
setting up flood fighting organizations to be operated by
local entitles. Also, the State Flood Emergency Operations
Manual Is prepared and made available to all persons and agen-
cies who may be Involved In a flood emergency.
Two sources of funds are available to the Department.
Prior to the declaration of an emergency by the Governor, and
under the Department's statutory authority, funds are availa-
ble for operation of the Sacramento River Flood Control Project
and for maintenance of portions of that project for which the
Department has been assigned direct responsibility. Funds also
are available for providing flood warnings and technical assis-
tance in flood fighting for other areas of the State in addi-
tion to the Sacramento River Flood Control Project. Under
emergency conditions, in addition to the funds appropriated to
the Department for its statutory responsibilities, there is
available an emergency fund of one million dollars first appro-
priated by item 446.8 of the Budget Act of 1958. This appro-
priation is available without regard to fiscal years and when
expended may be replenished by another appropriation.
The manpower of the Department Is available for
assignment to flood fighting duties by the Chief Engineer.
These personnel provide liaison, technical assistance, flood
fight supervision, flood fight duty, specific engineering
knowledge and assistance, or any other duty necessary to avert,
alleviate, restore or repair damage having a general public or
state interest, or to protect the health, safety, convenience,
and welfare of the general public of the State. An important
part of this staff is the approximately 130 experienced super-
visors in the operation and maintenance activities and person-
nel of the Sacramento and Sutter Maintenance Yards. Under
emergency conditions the Department hires men to assist in
flood fighting duties.
U. S. Army, Corps of Engineers
During flood emergencies the resources of the Corps
of Engineers Include the resources of the Army, Navy, Marines
and the Air Force, in addition to the resources of other federal
agencies. These resources are generally contingent upon the
declaration of a national emergency, but are available under
other conditions if it is necessary to protect life and
property. Under flood emergency conditions the Corps has
resources available pursuant to Public Law 99 for emergency
repairs to flood control works. In the recent flood the Corps
acted quickly to restore transportation facilities and water
supplies and to provide repairs in situations that were
creating health problems. Cleaning up debris where navigation
is involved also is a major activity.
U. S. Weather Bureau
The U. S. Weather Bureau's primary resource is its
capability to provide weather and river forecasting service.
Drawing upon the national and worldwide weather data-gathering
networks and the weather radar installations, the Weather
Bureau makes daily and other short-range forecasts and also
makes thirty-day weather predictions. The Sacramento office
of the Weather Bureau with the Department of Water Resoiirces,
through the Federal-State River Forecast Center, provides river
warnings and forecasts for Central and Northern California. In
other areas of the State, the Weather Bureau provides these
services entirely with its own resources. Weather Bureau offices
are located in Sacramento, Redding, Fresno, Eureka, San Francisco,
Los Angeles, Bakersfleld, Oakland and Santa Barbara.
The State Reclamation Board
The State Reclamation Board Is responsible for
securing lands, easements and rights-of-way for flood control
purposes within its Jursidiction. It is responsible for
giving the necessary assurances to the Federal Government for
construction of flood control projects. The Board also is
the agency responsible for enforcing state laws and procedures
governing the construction, operation and maintenance of
flood control projects within the Sacramento-San Joaquin
Drainage District; such district is confined to the valley
floor of the Central Valley.
The duties and resources of the Reclamation Board
are not necessarily affected by a flood emergency. However,
their capabilities are available at the direction of the
Board and the General Manager. The resources of the Board
during a flood emergency generally consist of services that
could be provided by its engineering and legal staffs.
Calif ornia Disast er Of fice
The California Disaster Office coordinates the efforts
of local and state agencies and coordinates federal assistance
to local agencies during periods of flood disaster. This coordi-
nation Is provided through six regional disaster offices and the
disaster organizations In each city and county. The resources
of most local agencies In California have been made available
to their more distressed neighbors through "Mutual Aid" pacts
established with the assistance of the Disaster Office. These
pacts Include provisions for furnishing manpower, equipment and
Califor nia Division of Fore stry
The resources of the Division of Forestry during a
flood emergency consist of manpower, equipment, and communlca
tlons facilities. This well-trained fire control and fire
fighting organization adapted quickly and effectively to flood
fighting tasks. The Division and the Department of Water Resources
executed an agreement in I96O making available the manpower
resources of the forestry conservation camps and the equipment
and communication facilities when not utilized for fire fight-
ing activities. The manpower consists of about 2,800 Inmates
of correctional institutions which have been assigned to the
forestry conservation camps by the Department of Corrections.
Forestry's equipment available for flood emergency activities
•consists of 97 bulldozers, 300 light trucks, and other miscella-
neous equipment. The statewide communications facilities of
Forestry are an available and valuable resource.
Californ i a National Guard
Upon declaration of emergency by the Governor the
entire resources of the California National Guard are available.
This includes state funds to the extent necessary to activate
the Guard and to carry out its work. Up to a full strength of
some 24,000 men can be made available if needed. These men
are trained in many skills and are dispersed throughout the
entire State, from Yreka to Calexlco. Present plans call for
a restructuring of the National Guard, with the result that
even more manpower and equipment would become available. With
respect to equipment, thousands of motorized vehicles of all
types with skilled operators are available, ranging from cross
coiontry multi-wheel drive trucks and amphibious trucks to
buses and light passenger cars. Also, the facilities and
personnel of the Air National Guard, with its 4-englne and
2-engine aircraft, are available. In this regard, the addition
of helicopters is planned. Finally, the Guard has a limited
quantity of supplies, such as emergency rations, gasoline and
blankets. This agency has the largest aggregate amount of
manpower and equipment available in an emergency of any state
No n- Governmental Organizations Engaged In Public Assistance
During flood emergencies a number of private welfare
organizations and associations minister exclusively to the
Individual and his family needs. These include the American
Red CrosSj the Salvation Army, church organizations, fraternal
associations, and other nonpublic agency groups. In flood
emergencies these organizations play an important part in view
of the personal nature of their services. In varying degree,
funds, manpower, and supplies needed for food, clothing and
shelter are made available. Perhaps, the most important agency
in this category is the American Red Cross. The Red Cross is
the official volunteer disaster relief agency of the American
people. The Red Cross, however, expects the locally constituted
authority to assume total direction and leadership for the
disaster situation in the community.
U. S. Office of Emergency Planning
Public Law 875j enacted in 1950, authorizes the
President to furnish federal assistance to state and local
governments in times of "major disasters". The Office of
Emergency Planning exercises this authority on behalf of the
President when he declares a state of disaster. Two important
resources then become available -- federal funds and coordina-
tion of the disaster relief functions of all of the federal
agencies. Federal funds for manpower, equipment and supplies
are made available on a reimbursable basis to local entities.
Requests for federal assistance are made through the California
U. S. Armed Forces
The resources of the armed forces, including the
Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force, consist of manpower,
equipment and supplies of all kinds which may be used under
certain conditions for protection of life and property, flood
fighting, rescue and relief work. They are not available for
rehabilitation. These resources are available following a
declaration of a national emergency upon request through the
Corps of Engineers or the Office of Emergency Planning.
California Highway Patrol
The Highway Patrol provides traffic control during
flood periods. The Patrol assists citizens in the affected
area and governmental agencies engaged in flood fighting,
search and rescue, and other relief work. Direct assistance
to state and federal organizations engaged in flood fighting
includes the utilization of their communication facilities.
Local Law Enforcement Agencies
The county Sheriff's Offices and city Police Depart-
ments maintain law -and order and provide for the public safety.
These organizations are very active during flood emergencies
and their participation is invaluable. The communication
facilities and other resources of these organizations are
utilized to relay or obtain information. The local law author-
ity can order evacuations of areas subject to imminent flooding
An Important basis for flood fighting activities in
California is the assumption that the flood fighting will begin
at the local level. The local agency, the county, city, or
district where the flooding occurs and which has responsibility
for operation and maintenance of the flood protection facil-
ities, has the first flood fighting responsibility. These local
agencies have funds, manpower, equipment and supply resources
which are brought into action before, during and following
flood emergencies. When the local resources are exhausted or
when it is apparent they soon will be the resources of higher
levels of government are to be made available, generally by
the declaration of an emergency by the Governor and the
U. S. Bureau of Reclamation
A primary contrlbutary of the Bureau of Reclamation
during a flood emergency is its operation of Reclamation
reservoirs in accordance with pre-arranged flood control
criteria and procedures. The Bureau does not generally have
available manpower^ funds or equipment in excess of that
necessary to carry out its statutory responsibilities except
when requested to do so under a declaration of national
California Department of Employment
This Department's principal service is providing
assistance in the recruitment of laborers and others needed
during and after an emergency. The Department has about 100
field offices in principal towns and cities throughout the
CHAPTER V. AID PROGRAMS
State Emergency Flood Relief Law
The State Emergency Flood Relief Law provides state
funds to assist local agencies In meeting the cost of repairing
and restoring storm-damaged essential public real property to
public use as soon as possible. When the Legislature concludes
that damages incurred during a specific period were of suffi-
cient magnitude to warrant state participation in the repair
and restoration costs, an appropriation is made to the Depart-
ment of Finance to finance the program.
Any city, county, or public district sustaining storm
damage within the period specified by the Legislature is
eligible for financial assistance under the law.
Emer gency Powers o f Director of W ater Reso urces
Section 128 of the Water Code, added in 1956, author-
izes the Director of the Department of Water Resources to desig-
nate the existence of an emergency in times of extraordinary
stress and disaster resulting from storms and floods. On con-
currence by the Governor, and the availability of funds, the
Department is authorized to perform any work required or take
any remedial measures necessary to prevent, to lessen, to repair,
or to restore damage or destruction to property.
Public Law 875
The intent of Congress in enacting Public Law 875 is
to provide an orderly and continuing means of financial assistance
to state and local governments in costs of measures required
by them to prevent or alleviate suffering and damage caused by
major disasters. The provisions of the law become operative
upon concurrence by the President in the Governor's proclama-
tion of a disaster area. Generally, federal financial assist-
ance under this law is limited to protective work and other
work for the preservation of life and property, and temporary
replacement of essential facilities of local government. All
cities, counties, public districts, and other units which
qualify as legal government entitles within the geographic area
of the disaster are considered eligible local agencies.
Federal Aid Highway Act
Federal Emergency Funds - Federal Aid Highway Act
provides federal funds to augment the funds of states and their
subdivisions for the cost of emergency opening and permanent
restoration of roads and bridges on federal aid highway systems
damaged or destroyed during disaster conditions arising from
natural disturbances of extraordinary intensity over a wide area.
Federal funds become available upon concurrence of the
Secretary of Commerce in the Governor's emergency proclamation
of flood conditions caused by storms or other natural disturb-
Any state, city, or county having roads or bridges on
the Federal Aid Highway System which have sustained storm damage
during a proclaimed state of emergency is eligible for federal
assistance under the Act.
Public Law 99
Federal Public Law 99 authorizes the expenditure of
emergency fionds by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers In flood
emergency preparation. In flood fighting and rescue operations,
or in the repair or restoration of any flood control work
threatened or destroyed by flood. Flood control operations are
undertaken at the request of responsible local authorities when
available local and state resources are inadequate.
Small Business Administration Loan
The Small Business Administration provides financial
assistance to disaster victims in the form of direct loans in
participation with banks or other lending institutions to restore
or rehabilitate property damaged or destroyed as a result of
natural disaster. Assistance also is available to small busi-
nesses for economic injury due to drought or excessive rainfall.
American National Red Cross
The American National Red Cross carries on a system of
relief in mitigating the sufferings caused by pestilence, famine,
fire, flood, and other disasters. Red Cross aid is not dependent
upon a declaration of a disaster, nor does it duplicate relief
provided by other agencies. Its major responsibilities are in
the early stages of disaster emergencies, during which time its
activities are closely coordinated with federal, state, and local
governmental agencies to plan relief operations.
Any individual or family in need is entitled to
assistance from the American National Red Cross.
A more detailed explanation of the foregoing program
are available in the Department of Water Resources' report
entitled "State and Federal Flood Relief and Disaster Laws".
CHAPTER VI. FLOOD DAMAGE AND PROBLEMS
Despite the existence of many flood control works in
California, as described in Chapter II, the unprecedented flood
of December, 1964 demonstrated conclusively that we still have a
long way to go in securing adequate protection against floods,
both in the construction of additional flood control facilities
and in the effective management of lands along the flood plains
of our rivers.
Damage from the Christmas 1964 floods was the worst
in the North Coastal area where the storm was the heaviest and
where flood control works are the fewest. For example, nearly
two feet of precipitation fell on the Eel River watershed, send-
ing new record flows rampaging through the basin with only a
pitifully inadequate levee system in the Eel River Delta to
provide protection to the local residents.
A similar catastrophe in the Sacramento Valley was
avoided because of the comprehensive system of reservoirs,
levees, and bypasses to control and contain the flows resulting
from the flood. However, levees were put to a severe test by
the extended duration of high flows, and extensive repairs and
maintenance will be necessary. This is particularly true in the
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta where a combination of high flows,
high tides, and winds acting against levees founded on organic
soils and subject to sinking caused the near loss of several
islands and will necessitate major reconstruction of a number
While the recent storm did not cause flood in Central
and Southern California, nowhere in the State can the overall
flood control facilities be considered adequate. Flood problems
are evident in varying degrees throughout the State.
In this chapter is a discussion of flood problems and
flood damage in the various areas of the State followed by a
discussion of certain general problems. This chapter describes
those problems as manifested by the Christmas 1964 and other
North Coastal Area
During heavy floods, such as those that occurred
during the Christmas Season of 1964, the North Coastal Area
characteristically sustains great damage in relation to its
total economy. There are several reasons for this. In the
first place, precipitation in California is characteristically
the greatest in the North Coastal region and the virtual absence
of snowpack to attenuate the discharges, coupled with the
relatively steep topography of the area results in rapid runoff
and accumulation of flood flows as they course to the ocean
within a few hours, or, at the most, two or three days after
the precipitation falls.
Secondly, the topography of the region confines the
habitable areas to those relatively narrow bands of flat lands
along the channels where people have historically settled and
developed a substantial portion of the economy of the region.
The same forces that created those flat plains upon which the
people live — namely floods — periodically go on a rampage and
destroy virtually everything within their path.
Thirdly, the topography and particularly the geology
of the region does not favor the construction of dams at a
reasonable cost. This problem is compounded by the fact that
the economy of the region generally is such that the present
benefits to be realized from a flood control project are not
sufficient to justify the r elatively high expenditures.
Finally, all attempts at intensive Investigation of
the flood problems and of the feasibility of providing flood
damage relief to the North Coastal area as a region have been
thwarted by the obvious high cost of structures required and
the low value of comparative benefits. Studies conducted to
date have been limited both aerially and in scope. Flood
control projects, constructed as a result of those studies, are
few and the damages that they prevent, while important in the
particular area they protect, are small in relation to the
total economy of the region.
Smith and Klamath River Basins
Beginning in the most northerly areas, the Smith and
the Klamath River Basins have no flood control facilities or
flood control features of conservation facilities that would
provide material protection to the downstream areas where flood
damage occurs. On the Smith River, the Christmas flood of 1964
spread out into various distributaries, flooding adjacent towns
and causing damage to Innumerable ranches and ranch buildings.
The towns of Gasque and Fort Dick and the general flood plain
north of Crescent City suffered road as well as public utility
The Klamath River flooded in the Lower Klamath Lake
area, Hornbrook, Selad Valley, Happy Camp, Somesbar, Orleans,
Welchepec, Martins Perry, Pecwan, Klamath Glen, Klamath, and
Requa. More than I50 homes were destroyed along the Klamath
River, representing probably 50 percent of the total residences
In the area. The communities of Klamath and Klamath Glen
suffered the complete loss of all homes. Losses and damage on
the Klamath River system extended to Etna in the Scott River
Basin and to the Salmon River, a tributary. Tributary streams
created local flooding problems in Shasta and Butte Valley and
in the Tule Lake area in Siskiyou and Modoc Counties. Extensive
damage also occurred along the Trinity River, particularly at
Hoopa and Willow Creek. Flood stages within the lower Klamath
Basin ranged from 10 to 12 feet above the 1955 flood level.
The operation of Ruth Dam and Reservoir for water
conservation reduced the flood stages in the Mad River Basin to
about one foot below the 1955 flood level. While the dam suf-
fered damage, it was not rendered inoperative. However, Mad
River, Maple Creek, Corbel, Blue Lake, and the Arcata-Samoa
area suffered damage.
Eel River Basin
Except for a levee project in the Lower Eel River
Delta, there are no flood control facilities of significance
within the Eel River Basin. As is the case in most of the
North Coastal Area, the communities are concentrated along the
flat lands comprising the flood plain of the river. Despite
the fact that many people, and, in fact, major portions of some
communities, moved up to higher land as a result of the dev-
astating 1955 flood, the unprecedented Christmas 1964 floods,
with stages of many feet higher than the former flood, wreaked
much greater havoc and caused much greater destruction than
did the former floods. A combination of flood control facili-
ties, in conjunction with prudent flood plain management and
broad scope area planning, holds the only answer to the future
protection of the Eel River Basin from great flood damage.
Damage in the Eel River Basin occurred at Wllllts,
Dos Rlos, Island Mountain, Alder Point, Fort Seward, Myers Plat,
Garberville, Weott, Shlvely, Scotia, Rio Dell Bridgevllle,
Alton, Fortuna, Fernbridge, Ferndale, and Loleta. The Christmas
1964 floods ranged from 2 to 20 feet above the previous 1955
record high water. Roads and railroads and public utilities
accounted for approximately $42,000,000 damage in the Eel River
Basin within Humboldt and Mendocino Counties. The private
damage In the two counties amounted to some $26,000,000. The
town of V/eott was approximately 75 percent destroyed, and Shlvely
was completely destroyed, as were Pepperwood and Holmes. Busi-
ness and manufacturing activities v/ere disrupted.
The Sandy Prairie Levee Project at the junction of
the Van Duzen and Eel Rivers near Fortuna was severely damaged.
Because of extremely high flood stages in the Eel River, the
simultaneous peak from the Van Duzen was prevented from enter-
ing the Eel River through the leveed channel. Waters from the
Van Duzen were thus forced behind the Sandy Prairie levees and
washed out stretches that could not resist flowing water on the
back side. Extensive damage resulted to areas that depended on
this project for flood protection.
The entire Eel River Delta suffered from the rapid
rise of flood waters, the high stages, and the long period of
inundation that accompanied the flood. Damage was compounded
by the force of fast-flowing water that ripped through river
banks, highway and railroad embankments, and public and private
structures. Millions of board feet of both sav;ed lumber and
cold-decked logs were carried away with the flood water. This
along with the debris of fallen trees wiped out many buildings
In the flood plain.
Dairy and livestock operations in the Eel River
Delta were particularly hard hit by extensive loss of cattle
trapped in flooded areas. The rapidly rising water and the
confusion in flood evacuation information hindered many from
successfully moving their stock.
Russ i an River Basin
The flood control situation in the Russian River
Basin is slightly better than that in the remainder of the
North Coastal area and promises to improve in the near future
with the construction of the Warm Springs Dam and Reservoir on
Dry Creek, a major tributary to the Russian. Coyote Valley
Dam and Reservoir on the East Fork of the Russian reduced the
flood stages substantially during the Christmas 1964 floods.
However, no one Individual tributary to the Russian contributes
a high percentage of the total flow in the river at Guerneville
and considerably more storage will be needed on the system be-
fore the downstream communities can be assured full relief
from flood damage.
The Russian River Basin is susceptible to damage to
residential and agricultural areas in Uklah and Hopland, as
well as business establishments in Hopland. The community of
Cloverdale is subject to flood damage from Big Sulphur Creek.
The main channel of the Russian River has been cleared and
improved from Calpella downstream, but heavy storms continue
to cause considerable damage. This emphasizes the point that
channel Improvement alone does not provide sufficient protection -•
flood control storage on the several main tributaries Is neces-
The flooding southeasterly of Guernevllle In the
Laguna-De Santa Rosa area Is caused principally by backwater
from the Russian River with the Laguna acting as a ponding area.
About 30 homes were flooded In Talmage In the Christmas 1964
flood from overflow of Mill Creek.
Mendocino Coastal Streams
Most of the developed land In the coastal area Is
located on the broad terraces along the Pacific Coastline.
Streams draining the area have generally cut deeply into these
terraces and do not overflow into local communities. A major
exception is Anderson Valley and State Highway Route 128 along
the Navarro River. Here the highway and valley lands are
subject to flooding by the Navarro River and its tributaries.
In relation to other areas of the State, little de-
mand for flood control or water development facilities has been
expressed on the direct coastal streams. There is a general
need however for a broad scope study in the area. In addition
to possible flood control and v;ater conservation, the study
should investigate the potential for recreation and fisheries
Sacramento Valley and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
Tremendous progress has been made in the Sacramento
Valley toward the protection of life and property from flood
damage. Shasta Dam and the Sacramento River Flood Control
Project afford a high degree of protection. However, there
remain flood problems which require additional reservoir sto-
rage and channel improvement for their correction or elimination.
Upper Sacramento Valley
The Upper Sacramento River, betv/een Shasta and Red
Bluff, receives the essentially uncontrolled inflow of a number
of tributaries which, during floods, cause damaging stages in
the river between Shasta and the head of the Sacramento River
Bypass system. During the recent flood, damages were incurred
in the communities of Anderson, Red Bluff, Los Mollnos, Corning,
Orland, Hamilton City, Willows, Chico, Butte City, Princeton,
Richfield, and Colusa. These floods were generally of the same
magnitude as the Christmas 1955 flood.
The west side tributaries to the Sacramento, between
Shasta Dam and Red Bluff, contribute heavily during flood
periods. They cause local damage to land and developments
along the channels of these streams and add to high stages in
the Sacramento River.
Extensive bank erosion, damage to state, county and
private stream crossings, and damage to structures occurred
along many streams that enter the Sacramento River from both the
east and west sides from Red Bluff to about the latitude of Chlco,
Thomes Creek caused serious damage when levees In the vicinity
of Richfield failed to contain the large volume of flood water.
At the heights of the flood highway travel v;as completely
stopped on both U.S. 99W at Thomes Creek and U.S. 99E north of
Vina from water from Mill Creek and Antelope Creek.
Irrigation structures suffered damage where diversion
works were seriously eroded or where uncontrolled overflows
entered canals and washed out the banks. The fish ladder and
left abutment of the Stanford-Vlna Diversion Dam on Deer Creek
will need extensive repair as will the canal of the Anderson-
Cottonwood Irrigation District.
Sacramento River Flood Control Project
The Christmas 1964 flood gave the Sacramento River
Flood Control Project a severe test and disclosed the major
problems which are current erosion, rather than inadequate
channel capacity. The system carried amounts of water equal
to the 1955 flood with greater efficiency and fewer trouble
spots because of the high degree of channel and levee mainte-
nance that has been exercised since that disasterous flood.
The most serious erosion occurred on the right bank of the
Feather River about one mile downstream from the Gridley Bridge.
Here the river changed its course, eroding away the berm and
cut deeply into the levee section. Some 20,000 tons of rock
were required on a 1,200-foot reach of this levee and berm to
control the erosion and reinforce the levee.
Extensive berm and bank erosion also occurred on Butte
Creek over a six-mile reach extending south from new U.S. High-
way 99 Bridge to the Southern Pacific Railroad. Also, much log
debris accumulated on the bridges in this area. Emergency re-
pair necessitated the placement of about 10,000 tons of rock.
A survey of bank erosion is now being made on the west
side of the Sacramento River north of Colusa and on the opposite
(east) side of the river. The exact extent of damages cannot be
determined until the water level recedes. However, it appears
that several hundred feet of rock revetment will be required,
at a cost of about $250,000. Encroachment in the channel has
caused a problem in the City of Colusa. These encroachments
should be removed and the levee should be reinforced with rock.
Butte Basin experienced overflows in areas where un-
authorized levees were removed during 1964, There were no
reports of serious flooding or damage as the result of this
natural overflow into Butte Basin channels.
Additional problems in the project consist of silting
in the Cherokee Canal below the confluence of Cottonwood Creek
and damage to bridges over the borrow pits of the bypass.
There also are growing problems on relatively small
streams and channels in areas that are being urbanized. Several
of these, such as Morrison Creek, are In the growing metropolitan
area of Sacramento. Adequate planning Is required now If large
future costs are to be avoided.
During the Christmas 1964 floods, the Yuba River set
a new record of peak discharge. There are essentially no major
storage reservoirs on this river. Fortunately, sufficient con-
trol was provided on the Feather River ty having completed the
construction of Orovllle Reservoir to an elevation of 605 feet,
which reduced the peak Inflow to the reservoir by more than
100,000 second feet. The possible tremendous damage which could
have occurred by the concurrent peaking of both the Feather and
Yuba Rivers at their confluence at Marysvllle was avoided by
control of the Feather provided by Orovllle Dam and Reservoir
and by levee Improvement and channel clearing that was done
following the 1955 flood. There Is an urgert need for sufficient
flood control storage to control the Yuba River. The proposed
Marysvllle Reservoir would provide this.
Spanish and Ind.ian Creeks of the Upper Feather River
Basin have experienced serious flooding during periods of high
runoff of the Feather River. During recent years, a major
bridge over Spanish Creek was destroyed. Furthermore, there
was danger of inundation and damage to the Airport at Quincy.
As Indian and American Valleys are developed more intensively,
damage from flooding can "be expected to increase. There is
a need to develop plans for providing flood control of these
Incidental flood control on the Bear River is
provided by operation of Camp Far V/est and Combie Reservoirs.
Rollins Reservoir, currently under construction, will provide
additional incidental flood control. There is a need for
the Corps of Engineers to complete its current studies to
develop a comprehensive plan for flood control of the Bear
While Folsom Reservoir controlled the flow in the
American River through the Sacramento area, the flood storage
reservation in that reservoir was very nearly fully committed
during the recent flood. This "touch and go" situation
strongly emphasized the need to expedite the authorization
and construction of Auburn Reservoir to provide additional
storage on the American River system to supplement the capacity
of Folsom to more fully regulate flood flows on the American.
An interim measure of increasing the flood control reservation
also should be considered.
The Christmas 1964 storm was not as Intense on the
Cosumnes River Basin as on the American, Yuba and Feather River
Basins to the north. However, this fortunate situation for the
Cosumnes River Basin cannot always be expected to occur in the
future. The Nashville site should be developed to provide ade-
quate flood control for the Cosumnes River.
Sacramento River Seepage Problem
In many areas, the water level in the Sacramento River,
particularly during flood flows, remains at a substantially
higher elevation than the lands adjacent to the levee, causing
water to seep through and under the levees with resultant
damage. With seepage varying directly with the water stage,
the persistence of high flows caused considerable damage to
both agricultural and municipal economies. Typical agricultural
damages are :
1. Inability to plant a given crop at the
2. Total or partial loss of established stands.
3. Inability to follow the first crop with a
4. Decreased yields and/or loss of perennial
plants, including trees.
Seepage damage in municipal areas can be measured by
the additional Investment to assure that water levels are main-
tained below the foundation of structures, the cost of repair
of roads, and extra pumping and maintenance costs to return the
water to the river.
A study is currently in progress by the Department to
evaluate average annual damages caused by seepage from the
Feather and Sacramento Rivers to consider possible methods of
seepage alleviation. The investigation also has as an objec-
tive the evaluation of the economics of various methods of
providing such alleviation. This study should be accelerated.
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
Flood problems in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
fall under two categories. These are the natural and man-made
problems that create or add to the severity of flooding and the
physical problems of flood fighting. The first group includes:
1. The physical problem of constructing and
maintaining levees on peat soils, particularly in
old channel sections where the peat soil is quite
deep, resulting in unstable sections of existing
2. The necessity for relatively high levee
sections on the landward side where much of the
land is below sea level.
3. Levee subsidence and subsidence of land pro-
tected by the levees as a result of compaction and
consolidation and stripping of peat soils.
4. High tides sometimes occurlng during flood
periods which restricts outflow of water from the
Delta, creating high water stages.
5. High southerly and westerly winds during
high flow periods which cause additional backup of
flood flows and creates the danger of wave erosion
of levee sections.
6, Control of floods by upstream works v/hich
effectively extends the duration of relatively high
flows, resulting in a greater probability of high
tides and winds occurring simultaneously with flood
stages, thereby lengthening the probable time high
stages are in contact with the levees.
The second problem in the Delta demonstrated by the
recent floods concerns the problem of access to levees. In
most cases, the impassable condition of the levees during wet
weather permits access only by boat or by walking. Furthermore,
sand for emergency levee repairs is generally not available
within the Delta area. Therefore, peat or other unsatisfactory
material sometimes must be used to fill sandbags. Also, in-
creasing the height of the levee with sandbags or other con-
struction materials during flood periods often results in
In the past, levee design has been a major problem
in that there have been many conflicting ideas as to what is
necessary to provide a stable levee section.
In some areas, the recent flood demonstrated that
there is need for improved communication between the State and
local entitles. With a number of people involved in flood
fighting activities who are not normally involved in this
field, there were some who did not have adequate knowledge of
the responsibilities and authority of the various entities
In the Delta, the problem was again evident that
project levees were endangered by areas protected by nonproject
levees. This problem occurs where project levees protect the
main channels and nonproject levees extend around various other
San Joaquin Valley
Flood problems in the San Joaquin Valley are generally
limited to the channel of the San Joaquin River betv/een its
major tributaries and the Delta, Certain levee problems and
minor flooding in the uncompleted portions of the lower San
Joaquin River Flood Control Project were noted during the
The flood problems of the San Joaquin Valley are of
only an interim nature, as the existing flood control projects
and those in the construction, implementation, and planning
stages will essentially complete the degree of flood protection
needed in the valley within the limitations of economic
Central Coastal and San Francisco Bay Area
While considerable conservation and flood control
works have been constructed in this area, both by the U. S.
Army Corps of Engineers and local public agencies, flood pro-
blems still prevail on a number of streams. These problems
are discussed herein, by county.
Santa Cruz County
Flood problems in the Santa Cruz County area are
handled primarily by local agencies with the U. S. Corps of
Engineers and the U. S. Weather Bureau providing valuable
The channel capacity of Soquel Creek is not adequate
to safely pass flood waters without overflowing of the stream
banks. Flood problems, resulting in damage to agricultural and
residental property and to highways, roads, and bridges, are
further aggravated by log jams that form in the channel ob-
structing the flow. Two bridges and a sharp bend in the channel
further contribute to the flood problems. High velocity flows
cause bank erosion and overflows, scour topsoil, deposit gravel
and debris over a wide area. These flood problems occur pri-
marily in the lower three miles of the stream, where the flood
plain area is estimated to cover about I70 acres. Flood crests
usually occur about 4 hours after the occurrence of intense
Flood crests on the San Lorenzo River are reached
within a few hours after the occurrence of Intense rainfall.
A serious problem is the occurrence of considerable debris,
which causes jams in the river channel and higher flood stages.
Associated vjith this problem is access to debris jams over
private property in order to clear the channel. It is sometimes
difficult to determine whether a specific jam actually presents
a threat to life and property.
Though the City of Santa Cruz is protected, upstream
flood problems along San Lorenzo River have occurred at Paradise
Park, Gold Gulch, Pelt on, Ben Lomond, Boulder Creek, and
Flooding along Scott Creek has occurred during times
of heavy precipitation. Flood crests occur very soon after
the occurrence of intense rainfall. Areas subject to flooding
are primarily agricultural. Flooding causes major damage to
and loss of highly valued crops and some buildings.
Flood problems along the Pajaro River arise from a
low degree of protection now afforded by the existing levees,
and the high velocities of flood flows which cause severe bank
erosion and levee damage. This has resulted in levee failure
in past years and is a constant threat to the City of Watsonville
and the Pajaro Valley area.
In the southernmost end of Santa Clara County, re-
current flooding is a threat to the intensively cultivated lands
along the Pajaro River, where the flood plains of Llagas and
Carnadero Creeks merge with the bottom land lake area, extending
westward from San Felipe Lake to the vicinity of Sargent. This
area is flooded by discharge of tributaries to Tequisquito Slough,
as well as Llagas and Carnadero Creeks. In addition, the banks
of the San Benito River are subject to severe erosion during
periods of high runoff, such as that which occurred during the
December 1955 flood.
Flood Problems arise principally from periodic damage
to agricultural lands and utilities on the Salinas River flood
plain belov; San Ardo, caused both by direct inundation and by
channel bank erosion with consequent encroachment onto adjacent
lands. Erosion damage begins when the flov; in the Salinas River
at Spreckels exceeds 15,000 cubic feet per second. Inundation
will occur when the flow at Spreckels exceeds 20,000 cfs.
On the average, some damage is expected to occur once
every two years v;ith the present flood control system. V/hen no
major floods occur, the flood channels become constricted by
growth of willows and deposits of silt. These constrictions in-
crease the potential damage of small floods, causing a constant
threat of inundation of the City of Salinas and other low lying
There is also some danger of flooding on the Carmel
River. The lower river has only a few privately-built levees
to control flooding. There is always a danger of flooding along
the lower river as silt is deposited at its mouth, backing up
the water when the flow increases and causing localized flooding.
Along Corte Madera Creek damaging floods have occurred
in almost every flood year. About 1,500 acres of residential,
commercial, and public development, having a total value of
$45,000,000, is subject to flooding.
Richardson Bay, an arm of the San Francisco Bay, Is
surrounded by a highly developed suburban area which is also
subject to recurring flood damage. Major storms in 1955 re-
sulted in damage estimated to be in excess of $170,000.
The community of Tamalpals Valley, located about 10
miles north of San Francisco, is subject to recurring flood
damage from Coyote Creek. And, continued residential develop-
ment in the area of Novato Creek is causing increasingly serious
Flood problems in the Sonoma Creek Basin arise pri-
marily from inadequate channel sections on creeks, unstable
levee sections adjacent to the Sonoma Creek channel, and in-
adequate openings under highway and railroad bridges. Tidal
action in Sonoma Creek can aggravate the problem. Flooding in
the lower reaches is nearly an annual occurrence. The City of
Sonoma and Tubbs Island suffered damage from high flows on
Nathanson Creek and Tolay Creek, respectively, during the flood of
December, 1955. Several homes were inundated in Sonoma.
The flood plain in the Napa River v;atershed extends
from 2 miles north of Calistoga to State Highway 48 near Vallejo.
This encompasses the towns of Calistoga, the eastern part of St.
Helena, the City of Napa, and coastal areas. Floods, such as
those which occurred during 1955, 1958, and I963, have Inundated
up to 12,000 acres and caused damages ranging from $350,000 to
$670,000. The majority of these damages occurred to commercial.
Industrial, and agricultural lands and roads and bridges. The
most severe damages occurred In the vicinity of the City of Napa.
In general, small streams cause extensive flooding of
agricultural and urban lands. Local reservoirs and channel
facilities are not sized to cope with even moderately heavy
Overflow from a number of creeks which flow through
the Falrfield-Sulsun area and drain into Suisun Bay cause some
damage to residential and agricultural areas. These floods are
caused primarily by the Inadequate channel facilities of local
creeks and drainage canals, which are being further taxed by
increased runoff, resulting from urbanization. Suisun City is
also subject to occasional tidal flooding.
Contra Costa County
Flood damage in Contra Costa County can be expected
to occur with each heavy rainstorm. Although the Contra Costa
County Flood Control and Water Conservation District conducts
an active flood control program, which includes several federal
flood control projects now under construction, urban develop-
ment of the area continues to proceed at a rapid pace and further
aggravates the flood problem.
Heavy property damages were suffered In 1955 and I958
by the flooding of Las Trampas Creek. It has been estimated
that approximately 15 surface acres were lost through stream
bank erosion In this channel. Other problems include excessive
bank erosion on Las Trampas Creek and local flooding onto agri-
cultural lands, subdivision developments, utilities, and roads.
In 1958, one of the major flood periods for the area.
Las Trampas and San Ramon Creeks overflowed into the main street
of Walnut Creek. A county bridge was completely washed out on
Marsh Creek, and almost every creek in the area overflowed its
Historic overbank flooding from Pine Creek has been
intensified in recent years by encroachment of business and
residential development. Severe damage has occurred to agri-
cultural and urban land and improvements. Flooding occurred
in the City of Concord from Pine Creek in December, 1955.
Alhambra Creek flows through the City of Martinez and
causes serious flood damage to residences and commercial
establishment s .
Approximately 125 acres are subject to flooding from
Pinole Creek, of which 70 acres are subject to severe damages.
Flooding in the business district and a residential subdivision
in Pinole occurred in 1955 and 1958.
The community of Rodeo is subject to recurring flood
damage from Rodeo Creek. Flooding of residences and business
establishments occurred in 1955 and 1958. Completion of the
freeway connecting other Bay Area cities has accelerated resi-
dential and commerlcal development.
Historic floods of the past have Inundated relatively
large areas of Livermore Valley and southern Alameda County.
The principal areas subject to this flooding have been agricul-
tural lands along the lower reaches of San Lorenzo and Alameda
Creeks and In the western portion of Livermore Valley.
In 1963 the Oakland-Emeryville area, which suffered
extensive damage in October I962, authorized the formation of
Zone 12. During 1964 local projects, costing about $21,500,000
were authorized. Zone 13, in the vicinity of San Leandro, was
also formed in I963 and local projects costing about $1,900,000
were authorized that same year. The District has requested the
Corps of Engineers to undertake flood control projects in Arroyo
Vie jo, and on Temescal and San Leandro Creeks in these zones.
In the October I962 storm, partially completed Cull
Canyon Dam was damaged, as was the University of California's
Botanical Gardens in Strawberry Canyon. Suffering and loss of
property by private residents was also large.
Although no damage was reported in Alameda County as
a result of the flood conditions in December, 1964, a number
of significant problems remain unsolved. There is a need for
local authorized projects to be constructed and federal plans
developed in the newly formed Zones 12 and 13 for the protection
of life and property in the Oakland-San Leandro area. The upper
reach of the San Lorenzo Flood Control Project must be author-
ized. Drainage at Oakland's Lake Merritt must be improved.
Channel improvement on Alameda Creek must push steadily forward.
Flood control protection for Livermore Valley is urgently needed,
Construction of Del Valle Dam and Reservoir will assist in
providing flood control protection for Livermore Valley, but
the 1961 conclusion of the Corps of Engineers that channel
improvements in Livermore Valley should not be authorized imme-
diately, has left a decided gap in the necessary works.
Santa Clara County
In the Northwest Zone, San Prancisqulto Creek and the
foothill areas above the present channel improvement on the
other creeks are the major areas where future flood problems
will probably occur. The North Central Zone likewise does not
have any future flooding problems except in the foothill areas.
In the Central Zone there remains at Alviso a channel alignment
project and the closing of the levees, through this area, to
the tidal channel. Until levees have been completed in this
area, particularly where the railroad crosses the river, the
City of Alviso can continue to expect flooding during periods
of high tides and high runoff.
Another area of potential flooding problems occurs
through the City of San Jose, where the Guadalupe River channel
needs Improvement. In the East Zone, along Silver Creek and
several other flat areas, there may be flood problems until
Improvements have been completed.
In the South Zone, Miller Slough in the City of Gilroy
and Llagas Creek will continue to cause problems until the
Llagas Creek Project can be completed.
San Mateo County
San Mateo County is hydrologically divided into two
units, streams draining to the Pacific Ocean and streams drain-
ing into San Francisco Bay. Steep gradients in the area create
floods characterized by rapid peaking and almost as rapid reces-
sion. Floods are of short duration, seldom being out of their
banks more than a day or two. Damage on the coast side is
principally agricultural in nature, including damage to crops
aid erosion of farmland. On the bayside, the major flood problem
is due to the rapid expansion of residential and commercial
development within the flood plains of the creek. Increased
urbanization on the bayside and the expected growth in the
coastal area indicates a need for flood control programs.
From the standpoint of flood problems. Southern
California can generally be described as consisting of a series
of valleys and lowlands bounded by steep hills and mountains
which, for the most part, are barren of vegetation with cover
limited principally to small trees and brush of various types.
Due to steepness of terrain and limited ground cover in upper
watersheds the many areas experience large runoff, heavy erosion,
and debris production to the valleys as a result of wind,
extreme temperature changes, and intense or continued rainfall.
The highly flammable types of cover in upper water-
sheds, coupled with increased populations, have aggravated the
flood problem by greatly increasing the probability of fires
of man-made origin, thereby reducing the vegetative cover and
increasing the probability of erosion, flood, sediment, and
debris damage to property.
Originally, development of Southern California was
primarily agricultural. The rich valleys and lowlands of
Southern California have become susceptible to floods and debris
damage. Along with continuous expansion of agricultural develop-
ment, there has been a continuous change in land use from agri-
culture to urban development. Inasmuch as the areas most
susceptible to urban development are located in flatlands below
the mouths of canyons that bound the valley areas, many urban
areas are in danger of floods. Because of the rapid urbanization
flood control problems often arise which must be solved immediately.
Such problems develop usually after a severe burn in the upper
watershed or become evident after a severe storm.
Flood control developments often lag behind urban
development. This, however, does not mean that damage cannot
be prevented or curtailed. Urban development is taking place
at a rapid rate. There is need for continuous studies, not
only of known flood control problems, but also of potential
flood problems resulting from either change in land use or in
the hydrological factors contributing to runoff. There is need
for physical works of improvement to keep pace with urban
development; however, this is not always economically possible.
During the interim, there is need for floodplain management in
order to control development in the hazardous areas and keep
flood damages to a minimum.
Temporary flood damage prevention works are needed
after disastrous fires which occur frequently in Southern
California. An example of this problem is in the Glendale,
Burbank, and Santa Barbara areas where recent fires destroyed
the watershed vegetation, resulting in mudslide problems after
a high-intensity rain in November, 1964. Fortunately, in the
Santa Barbara area, the Corps of Engineers, in cooperation with
the county, have straightened and dredged the most critical
channels, removed many substandard bridges, and constructed
debris basins prior to the rainy season to minimize flood
A step toward alleviation of flood problems in Southern
California lies in comprehensive planning and management of
floodplain lands that are subject to recurrent flooding by over-
flow of streams. Further steps are essential to encourage local
agencies to control use of floodplalns In order to prevent loss
of life and minimize damage to property from floods. In order
to assist local agencies, the State acts as coordinator between
the local agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers In the
conduct, by the Corps, of floodplaln Information studies under
Section 206 of the Flood Control Act of I96O. These information
studies provide a factual basis in planning the use of flood-
plains and In preparing zoning ordinances. In addition, the
State can assist by making studies and information available to
local agencies in support of their zoning activities, such as
the Department's Bulletin No. 112, "San Diego County Flood
Summary of Flood Damages
Information on areas Inundated and economic damages
during the floods since November, 1950 is summarized by major
areas in Table III.
It will also be noted that Table III does not Include
Southern California. While a number of local flash floods have
caused local damage, there has been no major flood in Southern
California since 19^1.
CHAPTER VII. THE CALIFORNIA FLOOD CONTROL PROGRAM--I965
It is apparent from the disastrous results of the
December, 1964 flood and from the review contained in this
report that construction of flood control works in California
must be accelerated and that other actions need to be taken
and certain studies need to be made. Actions to accomplish
these steps constitute a flood control program for California.
The "California Flood Control Program — I965", is set forth in
this chapter. Using this report as a basis, the California
Flood Control Program should be revised and up-dated each year.
The program set forth in this report will increase
our protection against floods, will increase our capability to
combat floods, will coordinate and strengthen the flood control
activities of all participating agencies, will expand considera-
tion of flood control in studies of multiple-purpose projects,
and will provide a guide for all agencies in providing much
needed flood control protection and flood damage prevention.
This chapter is divided into two parts. The first
part summarizes actions which are needed to provide increased
control of floods by reservoirs and levee systems. It Includes
information on (l) current multiple-purpose project studies
requiring special attention, (2) authorized projects, (3) projects
investigated but not yet authorized, and (4) basin-wide investi-
gations which are needed. The second part cf the chapter
discusses the many actions and programs that are needed to
supplement and to make more effective the operation of flood
control projects. The second part includes such subjects as
(1) utilization and coordination of flood fighting resources,
(2) flood forecast and flood warning systems, and (3) expanded
approach to flood control, and (4) flood plain management.
Where specific recommendations are made they are
emphasized by being underlined.
Needed Projects and Project Studies
Current Multiple- Purpose Project Studies
Requiring Special Attention
1. Marysvllle Reservoir . This planned project is
urgently needed for flood control on the Yuba
River. Responsible agency: Corps of Engineers.
Specific recommendation ; Authorize and accelerate
to construction as quickly as possible.
2. Auburn Reservoir , This planned project is urgently
needed for added flood control of the American
River. Responsible agency: Bureau of Reclamation.
Specific recommendation ; Authorize and accelerate
to construction as quickly as possible.
3. Middle Fork Eel River Reservoirs . Spencer and Dos
Rios Reservoirs on Middle Pork Eel River have been
authorized as features of the California Water
Resources Development System. Studies in progress
are directed toward sizing of the reservoirs and
selection of the export conveyance route. Responsi-
ble agencies : Department of Water Resources and
Corps of Engineers. Specific recommendation : Both
agencies should accelerate the current feasibility
level investigations of these reservoirs and together
they should develop a specific plan for flood control
operation of the reservoirs. Consideration should be
given to possible early construction of these reser-
voirs to provide flood control and in such a manner
that they could perform their Intended future pur-
poses of providing water for export and for
4. English Ridge Reservoir . This -reservoir would be
an eventual feature of a state-federal project
If water Is routed through Clear Lake, or an in-
dependent federal or local project to serve Lake
County, the North Bay Counties, and the Central
Valley Project. Responsible agency: Bureau of
Reclamation. Specific recommendation : That the
Bureau of Reclamation initiate immediate studies
at the feasibility level, comparable to those of
the Department of Water Resources and Corps of
Engineers at Dos Rlos and Spencer, to evaluate the
flood control features of English Ridge Reservoir
and to develop a plan for early construction,
5. Butler Valley Project , This project on the Mad
River, which would provide water supplies to the
Eureka-Arcata area, offers one of the most favor-
able possibilities in the North Coastal area for
early construction in the Interests of flood con-
trol. Responsible agency: Corps of Engineers.
Specific recommendation ; Feasibility studies be
initiated immediately for this project.
6. Knights Valley Project . This project on Pranz
Creek and Maacama Creek in the Russian River Basin
has been studied by the Corps of Engineers and
recommended for authorization. The project is
being studied at the feasibility level by the
Bureau of Reclamation. Responsible agency: Federal
Government. Specific recommendation : Complete
feasibility-level investigation and proceed to early
7. Paskenta-Newvllle Project . A forthcoming report by
the Department of Water Resources on the Upper
Sacramento River Basin Investigation, as well as
the published reports on the North Coastal Investi-
gation, point out this project as favorable for
early construction. It could provide complete
flood control on Thomes Creek, in addition to the
primary purposes of water conservation, recreation,
and fishery enhancement. Responsible agency:
Department of Water Resources, Specific Recommendation :
The Department of Water Resources, or the Department
of Water Resources in cooperation with the federal
agencies, should expedite the feasibility-level in-
vestigation looking toward early construction.
8, Upper Sacramento River Tributary Reservoirs
Hulen Reservoir on Cottonwood Creek ,
pipplngvat Reservoir on Cottonwood~Creek ,
Deer Creek Meadows Reservoir on Deer and
Mill Creeks, anH'
Mlllvllle Reservoir on Cow Creek
These reservoirs have been found at reconnais-
sance level studies to be economically Justified for
multiple-purpose construction either as features of
the California Water Development System or as locally
constructed projects with state participation under
the Davls-Grunsky program. They contain elements
of flood control and would provide flood benefits to
the downstream channels and would reduce flood peaks
on the Sacramento River, Responsible agencies:
Department of Water Resources and Corps of Engineers,
Specific recommendation : The Department of Water
Resources should expedite Its program of feasibility
Investigations on these reservoirs looking toward
early construction. The Corps of Engineers should
participate cooperatively to provide technical assis-
tance on flood control analyses.
Projects Already Authorized
Following are listed by geographic area flood control
projects that are authorized. For these projects the general
recommendation is that the Congress or the Legislature provide
immediate new or additional funding and that construction be
accelerated to the greatest possible extent. Specific recom-
mendations are made for each project.
1, Redwood Creek . Preconstructlon planning is in
progress, Authorized by P.L, 87-874,
October 23, 1962, Responsible agency: Corps
of Engineers. Specific recommendation :
Reexamine in the light of new hydrologlc data,
replan if necessary, and accelerate construction.
2, Warm Springs Project on Russian River . Pre-
constructlon planning is in progress and agreements
have recently been reached with Sonoma County Flood
Control District relative to a water supply contract,
Authorized by P.L. 87-874, October 23, 1962.
Responsible agency: Corps of Engineers. Specific
recommendation ; Accelerate construction.
3, Sandy Prairie Levee . This completed project was
partially destroyed in the recent flood, which
exceeded the design flood. Authorized by
P.L. 85-500, July 3, 1958. Responsible agency:
Corps of Engineers. Specific recommendation :
Make immediate repair s\ Reexamine in light of
new hydrologic data, replan and reauthorize for
construction as necessary.
Sacramento Valley and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
1. Oroville Dam and Reservoir . Construction is pro-
ceeding under the tightest possible schedule.
Federal contribution toward construction is author-
ized by P.L. 85-500, July 3, 1958. Responsible
agency: Department of Water Resources. Specific
recommendation ; Maintain construction schedule and
urge the Congress to make appropriations to keep
the federal contribution current.
2. New Bui lards Bar . Project will be advertised in
June, 1965. Nonfederal authorization yet; a
study by the Corps of Engineers is underway to
determine whether flood control storage should be
included in the project. Responsible agency:
Yuba County Water Agency. Specific recommendation ;
Encourage early construction.
3. Sacramento River Flood Control Project (Old
Project j~ Construction is 99 percent complete
but final completion has been delayed somewhat
because of levee stripping controversy. Last
contract is scheduled for spring, I965. Ini-
tially authorized by Flood Control Act of 1917,
and modified by Act of 1928, 1937, and 19^1.
Responsible agency: Corps of Engineers and State
Reclamation Board. Specific recommendation :
Maintain construction schedule.
4. Sacramento River Major and Minor Tributaries .
Construction of active portions is about
67 percent complete. Thomes and Antelope Creeks
are being restudled with project funds. Federally
authorized by P.L. 534, jBth Congress, 2d Session,
as amended by P.L. 516 of May I7, 1950. Responsi-
ble agency: Corps of Engineers and State Reclamation
Board. Specific recommendation ; Accelerate comple-
tion of active units and accelerate restudy of Thomes
and Antelope Creek Units.
5. Sacramento River Bank Protection . Construction is-
about 12 percent complete. Authorized by P.L. 86-645
of July l4, i960. Responsible agency: Corps of
Engineers and State Reclamation Board. Specific
recommendation : Accelerate construction and seek
additional funding .
6 . Sacramento River, Chico Landing to Red Bluff . V/ork
in Tehama County started June, 1953 and was completed
March 1964. V/ork in Butte and Glenn Counties is
"inactive" due to failure of local agencies to estab-
lish flood plain zoning. Authorized by P.L. 85-50O,
July 3, 1958. Responsible agency: Corps of Engineers
and State Reclamation Board. Specific recommendation:
Urge adoption of necessary zoning ordinances to
assure early completion.
7. Duck Creek . Construction is presently scheduled
to start in spring of I965. Authorized by
Section 205 of the 1948 Flood Control Act, as
amended by P.L. 685, 84th Congress, 2d Session.
Responsible agency: Corps of Engineers. Specific
recommendation : Construct as scheduled,
8. Mormon Slough . Preconstruction planning was
started in fiscal year 1964. Authorized by
P.L. 87-874, October 23, I962. Responsible agency:
Corps of Engineers and State Reclamation Board.
Specific recommendation ; Accelerate planning and
9. Ulatis Creek . Construction is about 13 percent
complete. Authorized under P.L. 566, 83d Congress,
2d Session, Approved for construction August I7,
1961. Responsible agency; U. S. Soil Conservation
Service. Specific recommendation : Construct as
10. Adobe Creek . Construction is about 85 percent
complete. Authorized under P.L. 566, 83d Congress,
2d Session. Approved for construction by USDA
July 31, 1958. Responsible agency: U. S. Soil
Conservation Service, Specific recommendation ;
Accelerate to completion.
11. Tabl e Mountain ( Iron Canyon ) . The project is
classified "deferred'' becaus'e of lack of agree-
ment among local interests and federal and state
agencies concerning fisheries and values of lands
to be inundated. It is recommended the project
remain in deferred status pending improvement in
economic justification. This project was ini-
tially authorized by P.L. 534, 78th Congress, 2d
Session, December 22, 19^4. Responsible agencies:
Department of Water Resources and Corps of
Engineers. Specific recommendation : Investigate
transfer of flood control aspects of proposed
Iron Canyon Project to reservoir projects on Sacra-
mento River tributaries, and improvement of
Sacramento River Flood Control Project.
12, Butte Basin. The Butte Basin Bypass Project was
authorized by the 19^4 Flood Control Act and in
modified form was adopted by the State Reclamation
Board in 1964 as a master plan for Butte Basin to
maintain the integrity of the Sacramento River Flood
Control Project. Responsible agencies: Corps of
Engineers and Department of Water Resources.
Specific recommendation : Accelerate studies to
determine long-range features and priorities for
Central Coastal and Bay Area
1. Alameda Creek . Channel improvement work is sched-
uled to begin in I965. Authorized by P.L. 87-874,
October 23, 1962. Design of Del Valle Dam, by the
State, is continuing viith construction scheduled
to begin in late 1965. Responsible agencies: Corps
of Engineers and Department of Water Resources.
Specific recommendation : Construct as scheduled.
2. Walnut Creek . Channel Improvement work is about
five percent complete. Authorized by P.L. 86-645,
July l4, i960. Responsible agency: Corps of
Engineers. Specific recommendation : Continue
construction on schedule.
3. Pinole Creek and Rodeo Creek . Channel improvement
work is scheduled for construction in I965.
Authorized under authority of Section 205 of the
Flood Control Act of 1948 as amended by Section 205
of the 1962 Flood Control Act. Responsible agency:
Corps of Engineers. Specific recommendation : Begin
construction as scheduled,
4, Corte Madera Creek . Preconstructlon planning is
in progress^ Authorized by P.L. 87-874, October 23,
1962. Responsible agency: Corps of Engineers,
Specific recommendation : Additional funds be Imme-
dlately provided for completion of planning and
design, leading to early construction,
5. Napa River . Construction of the Tulucay Creek
portion of the project is complete and detail
plans for construction of Redwood Creek Dam are
in preparation. Authorized under P,L. 566, 83d
Congress, 2d Session, Approved for construction
June 27, 1962, Responsible agency: U, S, Soil
Conservation Service. Specific recommendation :
San Joaquin Valley
1. Bear Creek (San Joaquin County) . Construction is
about 5y percent complete. Final construction con-
tract is scheduled for this spring. Authorized by
P.L, 534, 78th Congress, 2d Session, December 22,
1944, as part of the Calaveras River and Littlejohn
Creek and tributaries project. Responsible agency:
Corps of Engineers and State Reclamation Board,
Specific recommendation : Maintain construction
2. New Mel ones Reservoir . Preconstructlon planning
is in progress. Authorized by P.L. 534, 78th
Congress, 2d Se&sion, December 22, 1944, as modi-
fied by P.L, 87-874 of October 23, 1962, Respon-
sible agency: Corps of Engineers, Specific
recommendation : Accelerate design and construction,
3. New Don Pedro Reservoir , Planning is in progress
by local Interests, Construction is dependent on
court resolution of fishery problems. Federal con-
tribution toward flood control portion of projects
authorized by P.L, 534, 78th Congress, 2d Session.
Responsible agency: Turlock and Modesto Irrigation
Districts. Specific recommendation : Urge early
resolution of controversy so that construction can
^. New Exchequer Reservoir . Construction started June
1964 and is proceeding under a tight schedule.
Federal contribution toward flood control portion
of project authorized by P.L. 86-645, July l4, i960.
Responsible agency: Merced Irrigation District.
Specific recommendation : Maintain construction
5. Buchanan Reservoir . Preconstruction planning was
initiated in January, 1964. Authorized by P.L.
87-874, October 23, 1962. Responsible agency: Corps
of Engineers. Specific recommendation ; Accelerate
design and construction.
6. Hidden Reservoir, Preconstruction planning was
initiated in January, 1964. Authorized by P.L.
87-874, October 23, 1962. Responsible agency:
Corps of Engineers. Specific recommendation ;
Accelerate design and construction.
7. Lower San Joaquin Flood Control Project Above Mouth
of Merced Rlver T Construction is scheduled for
completion in 1966. Authorized by P.L. 534, 78th
Congress, 2d Session, December 22, 1944, as modified
by P.L. 327, 84th Congress, 1st Session. Responsible
agency: State Reclamation Board. Specific recom -
mendation : Maintajin construction schedule.
8. San Joaquin River below Merced River . Construction
of active portions is about bH percent complete.
There are two inactive units that are delayed until
local interests accept maintenance responsibility.
Authorized by P.L. 534, 78th Congress, 2d Session,
December 22, 1944. Responsible agency: Corps of
Engineers and State Reclamation Board. Specific
recommendation : Urge resolution of controversy and
accelerate completion of the project.
9. Kings River Channel Improvement . Preconstruction
planning for the levee and channel improvement has
been completed. Construct i-on -will be scheduled
as soon as required rights-of-way assurances are
provided by local interests. Authorized by P.L.
534, 78th Congress, 2d Session, December 22, 1944.
Responsible agency; Corps of Engineers. Specific
recommendation: Accelerate construction.
1. Los Angeles County Drainage Area . Construction Is
continuing. Authorized by various flood control
acts between I936 and i960, inclusive. The basic
comprehensive plan was authorized by the 19^1 Flood
Control Act, Responsible agency: Corps of
Engineers. Specific recommendation ; Maintain
current construction schedule.
2. West Fork Dam, Mojave River . Preconstruction plan-
nlng Is in progress. Authorized by P.L. 86-645,
July l4, i960. Responsible agency: Corps of
Engineers. Specific recommendation : Initiate con-
struction as soon as possible.
3. Escondido Creek Watershed . Detailed plans are being
prepared with construction to begin In the summer
of 1965. Authorized under P.L. 566, 83d Congress,
2d Session. Responsible agency: U. S. Soil Con-
servation Service. Specific recommendation :
^. Santa Paula Creek . Authorized by Flood Control Act
of 194«, as amended. Responsible agency: Corps af
Engineers. Specific recommendation ; Obtain plan-
ning funds. ~ '
5. Banning Levee on White Water River . Project is
being designed and early construction is anticipated.
Authorized by Section 205 of Flood Control Act of
19^8, as amended. Responsible agency; Corps of
Engineers, Specific recommendation ; Proceed to
early construction. '
Projects Investigated But Not Yet Authorized
The following list includes some of the projects which
have reached the final planning stage and have been reviewed by
the State. It is recommended that these projects, which have
been found to be economically justified and financially feasible
and which will provide significant flood control benefits, be
authorized by the Congress or the Legislature and that construction
funds be provided as soon as possible. Specific recommendations
also are made for each project,
Sacramento Valley and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
1, Marysvllle Reservoir , This planned project Is
urgently needed for flood control on the Yuba
River. Responsible agency: Corps of Engineers
Specific recommendation ; Authorize and accelerate
to construction as quickly as possible.
2, Auburn Reservoir , This planned project Is urgently
needed for added flood control of the American
River. Responsible agency: Bureau of Reclamation,
Specific recommendation ; Authorize and accelerate
to construction as quickly as possible.
3, Cosumnes River Division. This planned project,
particularly Nashville Reservoir, Is urgently
needed for flood control on the Cosumnes River.
Responsible agency: Bureau of Reclamation. Specific
recommendation : Authorize and accelerate to con-
structlon as quickly as possible.
4, Lakeport Reservoir . This planned project Is needed
for flood control of Scott Creek above Clear Lake.
Responsible agency; Corps of Engineers. Specific
recommendation : Expedite authorization an^!
5, Wilson Valley Reservoir . This planned project Is
urgently needed for flood control of Cache Creek.
Responsible agency; Local agency with State and/or
federal participation or federal agency. Specific
recommendation ; Expedite authorization anH
1. Eel River Delta Levee Project , This project Is
urgently needed; It would provide effective flood
control to an area which experienced some of the
worst devastation in the 1964 floods. Responsible
agency; Corps of Engineers. Specific recommendation ;
State and local Interests give full support to Imme-
diate congressional authorization.
1. Sonoma Creek Project . This planned channel improve-
ment project Is being finalized for submittal to
Congress. Responsible agency: Corps of Engineers,
Specific recommendation ; Expedite authorization and
2, Napa River Project . This planned project provides for
channel Improvements along the lower reach of the
Napa River, If authorized, this project will replace
the lower portion of the presently authorized Napa
River Watershed Project of the U, S, Soil Conserva-
tion Service, Responsible agency: Corps of Engineers,
Specific recommendation : Expedite authorization and
1. Lytle and Warm Creeks . This project will provide
for flood control along Lytle and Warm Creeks In
the cities of San Bernardino County and Colton.
The proposed plan provides for the construction of
a concrete-lined channel along the V/est Branch of
Lytle Creek, and continuous levees along Warm Creek,
and Includes a channel along a portion of the Santa
Ana River. Responsible agency: U. S. Soil Conserva-
tion Service. Specific recommendation : Expedite
authorization and construction.
2. Beardsley Watershed . This planned project in
Ventura County will provide improvement of exist-
ing channels and upgrading of three debris basins
for sediment control and flood protection to agri-
cultural land and the town of Nyland Acres,
Responsible agency: U, S, Soil Conservation
Service, Specific recommendation : Expedite final
approval and construction,
3. Revolon Watershed : This planned Soil Conservation
Project in Ventura County will provide enlargement
and realignment of channels to provide flood pro-
tection for agricultural lands near the City of
Oxnard, Responsible agency: U, S, Soil Conserva-
tion Service. Specific reccmimendation : Expedite
final approval and construction.
4. San Gabriel River Watershed (Western Area ), This
planned Soil Conservation Service Project will
provide construction of numerous check dams, three
debris basins and channels, and control of sediment
and flood runoff In the San Gabriel Mountains.
Responsible agency: U. S, Soil Conservation
Service. Specific recommendation : Expedite final
approval and construction,
5. San Diego River Mission Valley : This planned
project will provide channel improvements on the
San Diego River in Mission Valley. It will con-
sist of concrete lining on the main stream and
on a portion of three of its principal tributaries.
Responsible agency: Corps of Engineers. Specific
recommendation : Expedite authorization and
6. Tijuana River Basin (international Project) . This
planned project will provide construction of a
concrete-lined channel on a new alignment of the
Lower Tijuana River, The project will reduce the
flood threat created by the improvement of the upper
portion of the river by Mexico. Responsible agencies:
International Boundary Commission and Corps of
Engineers. Since justification of this project is
generally based on substantial land enhancement
benefits resulting from flood control, it would be
appropriate for local interests to assume a share
of the necessary right-of-way costs. On this basis
the project should be accelerated to early construction,
Comprehensive Basin-Wide Investigations
In addition to the many individual project investiga-
tions which have been made or are proposed, there is an urgent
need for several comprehensive basin-wide studies, particularly
in Northern and Central California. These studies should take
into account several factors that have developed in recent
years. For example, the effects of the December, 1964 storm
require a new evaluation of flood control criteria. Further,
the roles of recreation, and of the preservation and possible
enhancement of natural resources, have been undergoing major
conceptual changes almost overnight.
Also, the Federal Governrnfint, through ftie Area Re-
development Act, the Accelerated Public Works Act and other
programs complementary thereto. Is making financial assistance
and other aids available to designated counties in California.
Many of these counties are located in Northern and Central
California. This factor, together with the fact that in certain
river basins, particularly in the North Coastal area, local
economies could profit substantially not only from construction
projects, but also from the industrial and recreational develop-
ments which will follow such construction, should have very
favorable impacts on such economies. In such situations, an
increased need and justification for flood damage abatement pro-
grams would follow. A list of needed basin-wide investigations
1. Sacramento Valley and Sacramento-San Joaauln Delta .
The Corps of Engineers presently has authorization,
but only limited funds, for a comprdiensive re-
evaluation of the entire basin. Important sub-
basins or areas which need further study, in the
light of recent developments, include (a) the
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta; (b) the Sacramento
River Basin above the mouth of the Feather River,
including Stony Creek, Thomes Creek, Cottonwood
Creek, Cow Creek, Antelope Creek, Mill Creek, Deer
Creek, Chlco Creek, Butte Creek, and Butte Basin;
(c) Cache Creek Basin, including Wilson Valley
Reservoir and Scotts Creek and Kelseyvllle Reservoirs;
(d) Upper Put ah Creek Basin; (e) Bear River; and
(f ) Upper Feather River Basin including Spanish and
Indian Creeks and North Pork Feather River above
Lake Almanor. The entire Yuba River Basin should
also be restudied, particularly Marysville Reservoir;
in addition, in the event the Yuba County Water
Agency is unsuccessful in securing satisfactory bids
for its project on the Yuba, the project should be
reexamined in the light of possible state or federal
construction or financial aid. It Is recomir.ended
that adequate funds be secured for acceleration
and completion of the Corps of Engineers' authorized
basln-v;lde Investigation In Northern California
streams, and the Sacramento River and Sacramento-San
Joaquin Delta and that these studies Include con-
sideration of flood plain management.
2, San Joaquin Valley , The Corps of Engineers presntly
has authorization, but only limited funds, for a
comprehensive reevaluatlon of the entire San Joaquin
Valley. This is scheduled as a five or six-year
Investigation. The study should be kept on schedule.
It Is recommended that adequate funds be provided
for completion, as scheduled by the Corps of
Engineers, of the authorized Investigation In the
San Joaquin Valley and that these studies Include
consideration of flood plain management.
3. Eel River Basin . The Department of Water Resources,
the Corps of Engineers, and the Bureau of Reclamation
all have Investigations In progress on the Eel River,
Although comprehensive to a significant degree, the
foremost objective of these studies Is to develop
plans for water development for both local use and
for the export of surplus water to water-deficient
areas of the State, It is recommended that these
studies be reexamined on a comprehensive basin-wide
basis in the light of the recent flood events with
an eye to bolstering the economy of the region, and
giving special attention to the possibilities of
early construction and to flood plain management.
4, Klamath River Basin . With the exception of the
Trinity River, which will be treated separately,
there appears to be no possibility of developing
a practicable plan for flood control on the lower
Klamath River, until major conservation reservoirs
are needed for water supply. It is recommended
that flood control be given strong consideration as
a purpose in any studies of the Klamath River Basin
by any agency. It is further recommended that flood
plain management studies be Initiated in this basin.
5. Trinity River Basin . As with the Eel River Basin,
the Trinity River Basin is being studied by both the
Department of Water Resources and the Bureau of
Reclamation, primarily for water development. In
view of new hydrologic data, flood control should be
more than an incidental purpose. It is recommended
that consideration be given to flood control as a
primary purpose In Investigations presently being
6. Mad River Basin . This basin is being studied by
the Department of Water Resources and the Corps of
Engineers, primarily for additional water supplies.
It Is recommended that flood control be considered
a primary purpose In Investigations presently being
conducted and that attention be given to flood plain
7. Smith River Basin . The Corps of Engineers is
authorized to study the Smith River Basin, but has
had no funds made available. Flood plain manage-
ment and channel improvement appear to be important
in the solution to this problem. It is recommended
that early funding be provided to the Corps of
Engineers for this authorized study and that atten-
tion be given to flood plain management.
8. Russian River Basin . Construction of the authorized
Warm Springs Reservoir on Dry Creek will provide
substantial new flood protection in the Russian River
Basin. Nonetheless, in view of ■ new hydrologic data,
it is recommended that the entire basin be restudied
by the Corps of Engineers .
9. Minor Northern California Basin s. Numerous flood
problems occur in several sub-basins including Lost
River-Tule Lake, Butte Valley, Shasta Valley, Scott
Valley, South Pork Pit River, Susan River, and the
North Pork of the Peather River above Lake Almanor.
It is recommended that the Department of Water Resources
and the Corps of Engineers undertake, at a reconnais-
sance level, reviews of flood control projects in
connection with multiple-purpose water developments for
these areas. The timing of these studies should be
coordinated with possible water projects for other
needs and to take advantage of possible broadened
Needed Actions and Other Studies
There are several Important subjects^ In addition to
specific projects, which have a significant bearing on the
solution of flood problems. Some of these subjects have been
considered before, some may be new; but this review of
California's flood problems indicates that their consideration
Utilization and Coordination of Flood Fighting Resources
It is apparent not only from reading Chapter IV,
"Flood Fight Resources and Responsibilities", but also from
the experiences of recent floods that almost unlimited resources
are available in flood emergencies. The problem is to assure
that these resources are utilized in the most expeditious and
timely manner and to the fullest extent possible. The v;ay
to do this is to assure coordination among the various agencies,
making certain that the responsibilities and communication
channels of each are fully understood. The Flood Control Center
in Sacramento has operated in such a satisfactory manner during
past floods that it has set a pattern for similar centers else-
where. It is recommended that the Department of V/ater Resources,
the Corps of Engineers, the Weather Bureau, and the California
Disaster Office establish a task force VJith the objective of
studying and setting up and staffing three other area flood
control centers; one In or near Eureka, the second in the San
Francisco Bay area, and the third in the Los Angeles area. The
centers in the North Coast area and the Bay area should be
These centers not only would serve to receive all
per'tinent data but also, and more important, v;ould be the
central points of operation for all agencies, the central
points for dissemination of all information, and the central
points for coordination of all activities.
A necessary requirement for the flood control center
in the North Coast is a reliable radio network to cover and to
extend out of the North Coast to other areas in order to pro-
vide communication between flood operation centers and between
the flood operation center and areas of flood fight emergency
and flood fight activity. This radio network, and the other
governmental communication facilities available during flood
emergencies, should have a flexibility to integrate and coor-
dinate separate smaller systems. A similar network connected
to the Flood Control Center in Sacramento also is needed in the
Upper Sacramento River Valley. Such networks are recommended .
It also is recommended that consideration be given to the use
of closed circuit television, both for communication between
flood centers, and for dissemination of public Information.
Flood Forecast and Flood VJarning Systems
The experience of the December, 1964 storm and
flood sharply pointed up the need to strengthen and improve
the data gathering and flood warning systems. The data and
communication networks and flood warning systems in the Central
Valley need improvement and expansion. There are serious
deficiencies in the North Coast and the Central Coast.
The topography of these two areas and their proximity
to the Pacific Ocean raise special problems in forecasting
flood flows. In the flat plain areas of the Central United
States flood stages can be forecast from measured daily rain-
fall amounts or even from measurements of runoff of tributary
streams. In California's North Coast and Central Coast areas,
however, the time is so short between the first appearance of
rain and the following flood crest that special data gathering
and forecasting techniques are necessary. To gather data
quickly, rainfall stations are installed in remote mountain
locations to automatically telemeter rainfall amounts to the
forecast center on an hourly or more frequent basis.
In order to provide flood warnings as far in advance
as possible the first quantitative rainfall forecasts for a
storm are made by analyzing the meteorological characteristics
of the storm while it is still well out at sea and often before
appreciable rain has fallen on the watersheds that will be
affected. As the storm front moves inland and as the situation
becomes more clearly defined, particularly by rainfall measure-
ments from the remote telemetering stations, the forecasts are
revised and improved. As can be seen, in a situation of this
type, any steps that can be taken to obtain more and earlier
data will result In earlier and more accurate flood forecasts
and enable the more timely issuance of flood warnings.
The first steps are to take emergency action to
repair the system that v;as destroyed by the storm and on an
emergency basis to put in an adequate telemetering stream and
rain gage network. This work already is in progress to provide
flood protection during the remainder of the present flood
season. There also are two other new steps that can be taken.
The first is to install additional weather radars, such as that
located at Sacramento. There is a particular need for one in the
North Coastj probably at Eureka, and possibly one should be
located at San Francisco. The second new step is to give strong
consideration to the possibility of stationing a permanent
vjeather ship an appropriate distance offshore. Such a weather
ship also should be considered as a possible location for a
It is recommended that the Department of V/ater
Resources and the V/eather Bureau study the problem of making
flood forecasts for the North Coast and Central Coast areas
and take steps to expand the existing telemetering rain gage
network, to install additional weather radar, and to station
a permanent weather ship off the California Coast.
Revised Operation Criteria for Folsom and Shasta Reservoirs
As noted elsewhere in this report, the December, 1964
flood nearly filled Folsom Reservoir, a condition that could 'have
caused excessive releases into the already full downstream
channel of the American River and endangered the Sacramento
metropolitan area. This points up the need for additional
flood control storage on the American River. It also suggests
that it would be possible on an interim basis, pending con-
struction of Auburn Dam, to make additional space in Folsom
Reservoir available for flood control.
Shasta Reservoir on the Sacramento River also could
provide additional flood control reservation for an interim
period. The Bureau of Reclamation has recently studied the
possibility of raising the normal water surface at Shasta.
The additional capacity thus provided, plus some Increase in
the present flood control reservation, v;ould provide additional
flood protection to the Sacramento Valley and Delta area.
It is recommended that the Corps of Engineers and
the Bureau of Reclamation immediately review the operation
criteria for Folsom and Shasta Reservoirs to see if it is
feasible to increase the flood control reservations; in the
case of Folsom on an interim basis, pending the completion of
the upstream Auburn Reservoir.
Protection of Existing Flood Control Facilities
A survey of the Sacramento Valley levee system
Immediately following the flood period indicated that the
general condition of the system v/as "fair". In many areas
erosion had taken place. Almost v/ithout exception the erosion
was in areas where the levees were not protected by rock or
cobble riprap. This flood, as have past floods, demonstrated
that rock levee protection is best and that vegetation does
not provide adequate protection to the levee banks.
It is reconmiended that the priority of flood require-
ments be kept in mind in futiore discussions of and in planning
for other uses of the river channels. The existing levee and
bypass system was designed primarily as a single-purpose
system. In planning recreation and other uses of the system
careful consideration must be given to the need to protect the
system. Where necessary the project should be rebuilt to
serve multiple-purpose uses by doing such things as construct-
ing protected berms where vegetation can be allo^ved to grow.
Expanded Approach to Flood Control
California has sustained a direct damage of almost
$400,000,000 in the eight floods since 1950. This figiire does
not include the indirect damages to the economy of the State.
The total of direct and indirect damages, although it is not
known in definite amount, is so great as to raise at least three
questions: First, are the flood frequency analyses up-to-date?
Second, are we planning our flood control projects on a broad
enough base and with a broad enoiogh scope? Third, are the
measures of economic justification and financial feasibility
that have been applied to flood control projects in the past
and are being applied today valid?
Nearly all major Central and Northern California
streams have experienced two historic flood flow peaks in the
past ten years; once in 1955 and again in 1964. In the past
nine years the Yuba River has had three all-time peak floods.
Since 1950 there have been eight major floods. The flood
frequency curves that are being used in studies of feasibility
of flood control projects should be examined to see that they
reflect the facts of the past 15 years. It is recommended
that state and federal agencies, particularly the Corps of
Engineers, review their flood frequency studies.
A much broader approach to flood control should be
taken. Future flood control studies should be done on a basin-
wide basis and should be comprehensive enough to take into
account development of water for othei' uses such as conserva-
tion and power. But with particular reference to flood control,
a master flood control plan should be developed for each of the
State's basins v;hich would give proper and balanced considera-
tion to all of the possible means of abating flood damage such
as reservoirs, levees and stream improvements, bypass channels,
flood plain management, watershed management and advance purchase
There should be a state flood control plan. Such a
plan would include the flood control plans for the major basins
and would be a master framework within which all agencies could
work to provide the State vjith needed flood protection. Although
studies of flood control problems were made in connection with
work leading to The California Water Plan they were not compre-
hensive enough or complete enough to constitute a comprehensive
California Flood Control Plan. In part this probably was due
to the fact that the State has done little in this field because
historically the Corps of Engineers has had the major respon-
sibility for flood control planning and construction in
California, as in all of the United States. In recent years,
the U. S. Soil Conservation Service also has been active in
small stream flood control under watershed protection legisla-
tion. Although federal expenditures for flood control in
California since 19^9 have ranged from a minimum of $25 million
annually to a peak of about $47 million in 1959j it is apparent
that these expenditures are Inadequate to meet the flood control
needs of California's expanding population and economy. The
State Government is the only entity vested with a statewide
interest and responsibility. It is in the best position to
exercise leadership, general direction, and coordination of
all interests concerned.
It is recommended that comprehensive flood control
plans be developed for each of the State's major basins and
also that a state flood control plan be developed. Where plans
are available they should be reviewed and broadened to be fully
reflective of multiple-purpose basin planning. Generally basin
flood control plans should be made by the Corps of Engineers
although all agencies v/orking on basin-wide water development
plans should broaden their planning to take flood control fully
into account. The State flood control plan should be coordinated,
developed and maintained by the Department of V/ater Resources.
The Legislature should provide funds for the Department to
immediately initiate an appropriate program. That plan also
should be revised periodically as part of the core planning
effort of the Department. The plan should be an effective guide
to the inclusion of flood control in the v;ater resource develop-
ments of all federal, state and local agencies.
Criteria for economic justification and financial
feasibility for flood control projects need to be reviewed and
probably revised. In this regard consideration should be
given to developing a rationale v;hereby the element of pro-
tection of human life may be given paramount consideration,
along v;ith economics, in determining project feasibility or
the timing of project construction. Also, a method should be
sought to express in terms of monetary benefit the enhancement
of the potential for economic grov/th of an area when that area
has a substantial degree of flood protection. It is recommended
that state and federal agencies review their criteria used in
making economic justification and financial feasibility studies.
Increased financing and new sources of financing
should be made available to construct flood control projects.
It is recommended that strong efforts be made to increase
federal appropriations for flood control. In this general
regard, the federal Water Supply Act of 1958 may have Increased
applicability and Importance to California. It permits earlier
construction of many projects in the interest of flood control,
or other urgent need, than could otherwise be financially
State financial resources also should be considered.
The State advanced the timing of federal construction of the
Black Butte and Nev; Hogan Projects by pledging certain finan-
cial assistance that was then lacking. Construction of New
Exchequer Dam and Reservoir is being advanced by the State
Legislature authorizing a loan of $8 million from the California
Water Fund to the Merced Irrigation District to cover the
federal flood control contribution until- such time as appropria-
tions therefor are made by the Congress. The State decided to
construct Oroville Dam ahead of the economic timetable on the
basis of affording protection to lives and this decision paid
off in December, 1964.
Flood Plain Management
For certain communities and areas, because of their
location, protection against floods of the magnitude that
experience shows may reasonably be expected to occur may be
completely impractical. The fact that certain communities in
the State have been completely flooded out twice in nine years
is strong evidence that they are poorly located. It is logical
that such communities should be relocated at higher elevations.
above the flood plain, and further, that the dangerous flood
plains be managed to prevent or to strongly discourage building
LegislatlonVwas introduced in the 1963 Session of
the Legislature, which would have permitted the Department of
Water Resources to assist local agencies in establishing and
enforcing flood plain regulations in areas subject to frequent
flooding. In addition to being supported by the Department,
this legislation was supported by the Corps of Engineers, the
State Reclamation Board, and the California Water Commission.
It is anticipated that a revised bill will be
Introduced in the I965 Session. It would permit the State to
guide and assist local agencies to properly manage their flood
plains by authorizing the State to review and comment on pro-
posals for regulating flood plain use, or to carry out flood
plain studies upon request of local agencies. It also would
authorize the State to withhold reimbursement for the cost of
lands, easements, and rights-of-way for federal flood control
projects where local agencies fail to establish regulations.
Such a law would enable the proper management of the State's
dangerous flood plains as an essential part of comprehensive
flood control plans.
1/ Senate Bill 1435.
It Is recommended that this legislation be strongly-
Flood Plain Information Studies
In recognition of the foregoing problem of flood
plain management, the Congress has given the Corps of Engineers
authority to provide technical information to local planning
agencies by Section 206 of the I96O Flood Control Act. That
Section reads as follows:
'SEC. 206. (a) That, in recognition of
the increasing use and development of the flood
plains of the rivers of the United States and of
the need for information on flood hazards to
serve as a guide to such development, and as a
basis for avoiding future flood nazaras by
regulation of use by States and municipalities,
the Secretary of the Army, through the Chief of
Engineers, Department of the Army, is hereby
authorized to compile and disseminate Information
on floods and flood damages, including identifi-
cation of areas subject to inundation by floods of
various magnitudes and frequencies, and general
criteria for guidance in the use of flood-plain
areas; and to provide engineering advice to
local Interests for their use in planning to
ameliorate the flood hazard: PROVIDED, That the
necessary surveys and studies will be made and
such information and advice will be provided for
specific localities only upon the request of a
State or a responsible local governmental agency
and upon approval by the Chief of Engineers.
"(b) The Secretary of the Army is hereby
authorized to allot, from any appropriations
hereafter made for flood control, sums not to
exceed $1,000,000 in any one fiscal year for the
compilation and dissemination of such infor-
This program provides information that is vital to
studies of flood plain management and to the development of
flood control plans. It is seriously handicapped, however,
by the statutory limitation of $1,000,000 each year for the
entire nation. A substantial increase of funds for this
purpose would permit expanded studies of flood problems. Such
increased financing could come about through an increase in
federal funds or by appropriation of state funds, either on
a cooperative basis or by contracts with the Corps of
Engineers. It is recommended that strong support be given to
an increase in federal funds for this purpose.
The management, or lack of management, that is
given to a watershed helps to determine whether there are
floods or usable water, erosion and sediment or productive
land. The use of floodwater retarding structures, sediment
control and gully-stabillzing structures, vegetation, contour
farming, and Improved fire fighting capabilities, have both
Individual and accumulatively favorable effects on the quality
and quantity of stream flow. Benefits from these measures are
many and varied and are both on-site and off-site. As more
flood plains are developed, the need for watershed protection
will increase. It is r e commended that the U. S. Soil Conserva-
tion Service and State Division of Soil Conservation, who are
principal sponsors of such programs In California^ give special
attention to Implementing such programs on watersheds of streams
ana portions of river basins v/hlch habitually cause the greatest
losses In lives and/or property, |
CHAPTER VIII. RECOMMENDATIONS
The previous chapter presents "The California Flood
Control Program-- 196 5" . In that chapter a considerable number
of recommendations are made regarding projects that should be
expedited, authorized, or planned and actions that should be
taken or studies that should -be made. Those recommendations
constitute the general recommendations of this report and will
not be repeated here. Action on those recommendations v;ould
implement The California Flood Control Plan.
In the short time available to prepare this report
it has not been possible to make studies that would indicate
priorities that should be assigned to all of the foregoing
recommendations. Such priorities should be determined as soon
as possible as a part of a comprehensive flood control plan
for the State. In the meantime, from knowledge of existing
flood control and flood protection facilities and from the
experiences of recent floods, the following immediate actions
o Authorize and construct Marysvllle Reservoir
on the Yuba River (page 130).
o Authorize and construct Auburn Reservoir on the
American River (page 130)
o Expedite studies of Dos Rios, Spencer, and
English Ridge Reservoirs on the upper Eel River
to determine the feasibility of construction
for flood control in advance of need for water
supply (pages 130 and 131).
o Expedite studies of the Butler Valley Project on
the Mad River for flood control (page 131).
o Expedite studies and authorize and construct
Knights Valley Reservoir In the Russian River
Basin (page 131).
o Expedite studies of the Paskenta-Newville Project
looking toward early construction (page 131).
o Expedite studies on the upper Sacramento River
tributary of Cottonwood, Deer, Mill, and Cow
Creeks looking tovjard early construction
o Accelerate construction of Sacramento River Bank
Protection Project (page 13^).
o Authorize and construct Nashville Reservoir on
the Cosumnes River (page 139).
o Authorize and construct Lakeport Reservoir on
Scott Creek (page 139).
o Authorize and construct Wilson Valley Reservoir
on Cache Creek (page 139).
o Authorize and construct the Eel River Delta Levee
Project (page 139) .
o Authorize and construct the Sonoma Creek Project
(page 140) .
o Authorize and construct the Napa River Project
o Authorize and/or construct the following projects
in Southern California (page l40) :
1. Lytle and Warm Creeks
2. Beardsley V/atershed
3. Revolon Watershed
4. San Gabriel River V/atershed
5. San Diego River Mission Valley
6. Tijuana Rivsr Basin
o Make comprehsive basin-wide studies with flood con-
trol as a major purpose in the following areas
(pages 142-144) :
1. Sacramento Valley and Sacramento- San
Joaquin Delta (page l42)
2. San Joaquin Valley (page 143)
3. Eel River Basin (page l43)
4. Klamath River Basin (page l43l
5. Trinity River Basin (page 143$
6. Mad River Basin (page 1441
7. Smith River Basin (page 144")
8. Russian River Basin (page 144)
9. Minor Northern California Basin
Projects including Lost River-Tule
Lake, Butte Valley, Shasta Valley,
Scott Valley, South Fork Pit River,
Susan River, and North Fork of the
Feather River above Lake Almanor
o Establish area flood control centers in or near
Eureka and in San Francisco Bay area (page 145).
o Construct a reliable radio network to provide
communications to the North Coast (page 146) .
o Expand the existing hydrologic telemetering net-
work in the North Coast (page l48) .
o Install additional I'/eather radar in Northern
California (page l48) .
o Investigate the possibility of stationing a
permanent v;eather ship off the Northern Cali-
fornia Coast (page 148).
o Increase flood control reservation in Folsom
Reservoir pending completion of Auburn Reservoir
o In planning recreation and other uses of the
existing levee system give consideration to the
priority of flood requirements and if necessary
rebuild the system to serve multiple-purpose
uses (page 150) .
o Review flood frequency studies (page 151).
o Initiate studies to provide and maintain on a
current basis a statewide flood control plan
(page 152) .
o Initiate studies to develop master flood control
plans for the major drainage basins of the State
o Review and revise criteria for economic justifi-
cation and financial feasibility of flood control
projects giving consideration to the element of
protection of human life (page 153).
o Increase federal appropriations for flood control
o Enact at state level strong flood plain manage-
ment legislation (page 156).
o Increase funds available for flood plain Informa-
tion studies (page 157).
o Give special attention to watershed management pro-
grams on streams where greatest flood damages are
suffered (page 157).
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THIS BOOK IS DUE ON THE LAST DATE
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RtT. JAN 6 1966
)UE FEB 2 3 197p JUAI 1 3 1980
APR 2 5 1980
9HYS SCI LIBRARY
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Calif. Dept. of Water C2
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
3 1175 00479 3397